Telephone service was out this morning to as many as four-thousand people in two communities just southeast of Des Moines — the towns of Hartford and Carlisle. The cause of the problem still isn’t known. Warren County 9-1-1 director Mahala Cox says the complete outage presented an unusual problem. Cox says the whole telephone exchange had no dial tone, meaning residents couldn’t call anyone, let alone 9-1-1 for emergencies. She got the word out to the media to tell people in the effected area to use their cellular phones in an emergency. People without cell phones were told to drive to their nearest fire station. Cox admits, that was impractical for those who don’t own cell phones, but there was no alternative.Cox says it’s unclear just how long today’s incident lasted. She was notified at six A.M. and the phones were fixed around eight A.M. — so it was at least two hours. Service was out to everyone whose phone number has the 9-8-9 prefix in the 5-1-5 area code. She says -no- residents had to make any emergency trips to fire stations in Carlisle or Hartford.Today’s incident, she says, is a good sales pitch for why people -should- own a cell phone.