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Sprint outage affects cell phone users and shoppers at major retailers

Posted at 5:41 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 21:15:35-05
UPDATE: (8:12 p.m.) Sprint officials say that service is being restored in the area. 
 
Crews responded to a fire at the Sprint Exchange Center near 7th and Leavenworth streets in Omaha around 5 this morning. One person was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
 
Tonight, that fire is having a much wider impact.
 
The resulting outage affected Sprint customers from cell phone users, to debit cards,  even a big box store. Customers lost service for most of the day.
 
Dozens of concerned Sprint customers reached out to KMTV unable to use their phones -  cut off from communication for more than eight hours. What's troubling many, is that there's no word yet on when service will be restored. 
 
Woke up and I'm connected to the wifi at my house so I didn't really notice anything then. But I'm not usually connected to the wifi at work. When I got to work and noticed I was roaming and was like oh that's kind of weird," said Matt McNeal, Sprint user.
 
"And then my husband emailed me and was like hey, I just tried to call you and couldn't get through to you," said Anna Zelaya, Sprint user.
 
Users were forced to take a break from their smart phones after the outage resulted in roaming and limited coverage. Many took to social media to voice their disappointment - with differing opinions on how Sprint handled the loss of service.
 
"I mean, it's not Sprint's fault there was a fire. So I don't think people should start freaking out about service. Service goes down. It happens, I mean I mean, I trust they're working to fix it as quickly as possible," said McNeal.
 
Shoppers were also in for quite a headache. Many Target stores experienced difficulties with their point of sale systems - downing pin card readers and requiring some customers to pay in cash or by check. 
 
"Well. I couldn't use my red card at Target and it also affects coupons you use through your phone for cart wheel. So you don't get the discounts you usually get," said Molly Graham, Target shopper.
 
Store management made the checkout process go as smoothly as possible by greeting customers right at the door to inform them of the outage impact and offering complimentary treats.
 
We've reached out to sprint several times. They're unable to confirm when service will be restored or say how many people have been affected. Sprint tweeted that 9-1-1 communications may also be impacted.