Gunfire blamed as thousands in Oakland lose Comcast connection, can’t watch 49ers game – San Francisco Chronicle

As many as 25,000 Comcast customers in Oakland lost internet and cable services — and viewing access to the big 49ers game — on Sunday after the company’s fibers were apparently severed by bullets, according to a Comcast spokesperson.

The blackout was first reported around 5 a.m. when bullets apparently cut Comcast fibers in multiple locations near 69th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard, said Joan Hammel, a Comcast spokesperson. Hammel said Comcast has seen similar bullet damage on occasion in the past.

Oakland police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 3:30 a.m. in the 6800 block of MacArthur Boulevard, a police statement said. The Police Department’s ShotSpotter gunfire detection system reported 17 rounds fired. At the location, officers found bullet casings, and surveillance video showed a person inside a vehicle firing shots out their window “into the air,” police said.

The police statement said officers “did not locate anything struck.” Asked about Comcast’s fibers, police spokesperson Kim Armstead emailed The Chronicle, “At 3:30 AM, officers did not observe or locate anything struck.”

The huge blackout came hours before the 3:40 p.m. kickoff of the San Francisco 49ers’ matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football Conference championship game, leaving thousands of 49ers fans without viewing options. Some connectivity was restored, but by 6 p.m., as many as 20,000 Oakland customers still didn’t have service, Hammel said.

Comcast crews were working to bring customers back online, she said.

“We could not be more apologetic and sincerely upset that this is happening on a day like today,” Hammel said Sunday afternoon. “We’re working as fast as we can to make all the repairs and get folks’ services back up and running.”

Comcast crews were able to tell from a “visual reference point” that the fibers had been severed by bullets, Hammel said. She could not provide additional information about the possible shooting.

“While this isn’t completely uncommon, it is pretty rare, but we know it when we see it,” Hammel said, noting that it was not the first time Comcast fibers have been severed by bullets in Oakland.

Hammel said the blackout affected only certain portions of Oakland. The number of customers without services was expected to fluctuate during the repair efforts, she said.

Andy Picon is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @andpicon

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