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Cell Tower News: Tower tragedies claim 4 lives

It is with a heavy heart we bring you this week’s cell tower news. It was a devastating weekend, with two tower tragedies in different parts of the country that claimed a total of four lives.

The first was in Clarksburg, W.Va., where two towers collapsed. On Feb. 1, four tower technicians were performing structural repairs attempting to reinforce the legs of the 300-foot tower in the Summit Park neighborhood when the first came crashing down around mid-day. Two climbers were pronounced dead on the site while two were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Firefighters responded to the scene immediately, when, according to the Associated Press, this collapse stressed the guy wire connecting it to the second tower nearby causing it to collapse as well. This second collapse claimed the life of one firefighter while causing minor injuries to others. The tower work was originally commissioned by SBA Communications, but subcontracted out to S. and S. Communications Specialists. The incident is already under investigation by OSHA.

The other tower tragedy took place in Bluetown, Texas, where a man fell from a 1,000-foot tower. He was sent out to work on the tower alone by his company. According to sources near the scene, the safety line he was wearing was too long for the fall. The company notified authorities when he had not reported in several hours, where they found him 30 feet away from the tower.

In Newfoundland, Canada, a radio transmitter tower was engulfed in flames last week. Fortunately no one was injured and the only casualty was a building under the tower belonging to Steele Communications. Click here to watch a video of the entire incident, including firefighters putting out the flames. One can only hope this videographer made sure authorities/help were on the way before sitting there and filming the entire thing.

In less destructive, more positive news, CTI Towers announced completion of another third-party acquisition as well as a new company appointment. The acquisition includes four towers from NTCH in Amarillo, Texas, making it the second third-party acquisition in five months from the wireless tower operator. CTI Towers also named Joe Ryan as VP of acquisitions. Ryan previously served as the M&A Director for American Tower where 6,000 tower transactions were under his guidance.

As is the same every week, another community is in an uproar over a potential new cell tower. In Grand Island, N.Y., residents are upset over a proposed tower from Verizon Wireless, claiming that there’s no where it can be put in the community that’s not going to upset someone. It’s surprising that another tower is needed considering that local laws require multiple carriers to share the same tower and there are already 10 towers on the island. Yet somehow, the north end still has little to no coverage. The town board will vote next week to change laws that required space five-times the height of the tower around it in case it should fall. Modern towers collapse on themselves, so it is likely this will be change, but whether a new tower will appear will still be up in the air.

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