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Rebuilding: The Almeda Fire Anniversary

Last fall, the Almeda Fire destroyed over 2,600 homes and displaced 3,000 residents of Talent and Phoenix.

September 8th, the one-year anniversary, is the day to remember the victims of the tragic fire and those who lost their homes.  Too many also lost their livelihood.  As the communities rebuild, Hunter Communications is engaged in supporting the effort.

We are also taking time to thank our employees in their dedicated efforts of:

 

      • Deploying communications to the emergency responders
      • Restoring internet and voice services 
      • Making internet access available to displaced families
      • Supporting affected co-workers and their families

Deploying and Restoring Communications

Because of swift action from employees at Hunter, the Command Center for the fire received fiber-optic internet access within just 24 hours.

Carey Cahill, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said, “It was amazing to see our teams coordinate efforts to get communications to the Command Center and ensure this important project was completed on time.”

Despite the efforts of the fire fighters, about 20 miles of Hunter’s fiber-optic network was damaged, and outages were reported from Ashland to Phoenix.

Hunter’s Network Operations Center employees worked tirelessly to reroute traffic utilizing redundant circuits in the impacted areas while the construction teams rebuilt our fiber network.

Vice President of Network Services Tim Smith said, “The fires severed multiple key north-south arteries of our network. The Network and IT teams worked around the clock to mitigate the damage, quickly rerouting and restoring service to the vast majority of customers affected by the fires, even though several of these employees were physically displaced from their homes themselves.”

Hunter also worked to deliver wireless internet access to over forty displaced families living in temporary FEMA housing.  Several departments worked under tight deadlines to bring those families online after the fire.

We are grateful to all the employees who worked long hours to support the community in a time of crisis.  Hunter is proud of each department in their efforts during both the Almeda and South Obenchain Fires. 

The fire was still burning when we drove in.  It was the most devastating scene I’ve witnessed in over twenty years of experience.  I couldn’t be more proud of my team’s performance and their countless hours working day after day to bring those communities back online.

Jim Lamp

Vice President of Construction

Employee Support

We would also like to thank the employees who stepped up to support affected co-workers during the fire.  Many went out of their way to help by opening their homes to evacuated employees.

In response to the fire, Hunter established an Employee Emergency Relief Fund to offset the impact.  In total, six employees received financial aid, and the fund continues to be available to those in need of emergency assistance today.

Hunter Communications is grateful to David Grain of Grain Management and company founder Rich Ryan for their major contributions to this fund. 

Recovery and Rebuilding

Last year, to help the cities of Talent and Phoenix recover, Hunter offered free internet to local businesses.

This year, we are participating in the Gateway Project, currently under construction, to bring free internet service to displaced families with students.  

Hunter will also be launching fiber-optic internet service to over 1,000 homes in select Talent and Phoenix neighborhoods, and we are evaluating more areas for expansionespecially those affected by the fire.

In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the Almeda Fire, customers whose homes were destroyed will receive three months of free internet.  Additionally, Hunter will make financial donations to the Phoenix High School All Sports Booster Club and the Talent Elementary School Parent Teacher Association on behalf of all other residents who sign up for fiber-optic internet.

Hunter Communications is proud of our employees who have helped the community rebuild, and we appreciate their hard work and dedication to our company values.

As a local company, we understand what it means to do the right thing for our customers and for the community.  From the countless hours our employees spent restoring service to the financial support we are providing, Hunter is committed to helping Talent and Phoenix recover.

Michael Wynschenk

Chief Executive Officer