Emergency phone in Oakland working again after being down for months

PITTSBURGH — UPDATE (5/21/19): An emergency phone in the parking lot of Panther Hollow is working again after concerns were raised.

A neighbor told Channel 11 News on Monday the phone had been broken for months. He was worried for University of Pittsburgh students who might need it in an emergency.

Pitt said they were waiting on parts to fix the phone.

ORIGINAL STORY (5/20/19): If you're in Panther Hollow and there's an emergency, you go right over to the blue light at the emergency phone. But it's been broken for months. One neighbor wants to know why.

Guy Giampolo can tell you exactly how to get around Oakland. He lives there.

You can now customize your WPXI News App to receive alerts for Allegheny County news. CLICK HEREto find out how.

“All my life. My great-grandfather built three of the houses down here,” he said.

He knows the benefits of emergency phones on Pitt’s campus, and a few years ago, he used one himself.

“Somebody got stabbed. They needed assistance. Phone is here,” he said.


He lives close enough to see the one in the parking lot of Panther Hollow from his house and says it has been broken for the last couple of months.

“I just worry about the kids that come down at night, back to their cars, and if they see something when they’re walking in, bang, they could pick the phone up,” he said.

But the phone has a black garbage bag over it. He contacted Channel 11 to get answers because he has not gotten any from Pitt.

“We are in the day of cell phones, but they have these all over campus. They have it down here, why isn’t it working? Why are the ones up on campus all functional and the one in Panther Hollow not functional?” he asked.

Channel 11 reached out to Pitt and the school said they are looking into the issue of the phone not working.

Pitt officials sent Channel 11 a statement:

"Safety is a top priority at the University of Pittsburgh. Parts needed to repair the phone have been ordered and are expected to arrive and be installed soon. Community members needing police assistance are urged to call 9-1-1 or directly dial the University of Pittsburgh police at 412-624-2121. Those with pitt.edu email addresses can also download the RAVE Guardian App, which allows mobile users to directly contact the Pitt police well as notify friends and family of their location in real time."

Giampolo said there are emergency resources in the area. But it would just be one more tool to keep safe if the phone worked.

“I do see the Pitt police. I have to give them credit they, do patrols. It just would be nice to have this functional again,” he said.