Two tower workers escaped injury when the structure they were working on caught fire, Aug. 20, in Sanford, Fla.
The crew was reportedly performing welding on the 127-foot tower, when cabling caught fire. As the welder attempted to come down the structure, the bucket that was carrying him became stuck. He got out and rappelled while another man climbed down the tower.
“Crucial to the men getting down safely was their training using harnesses and a rope to get down,” Tim Robles, fire marshall, City of Sanford, Fla., told AGL Bulletin. Three additional personnel were stationed at the base of the tower with fire extinguishers.
After cutting power to the facility, firefighters applied some water to the base but mostly left the fire burn itself out with help from an afternoon rain storm. The structure began to lean because the metal had been compromised. A nearby restaurant was evacuated pending the removal of the damaged tower.
“The tower did receive damage from the fire and began lean to the South so we had to evacuate an area of 175 feet,” Robles said. “When the galvanize metal cooled, the tower straightened a bit.”
The permit to do the work was obtained by Sabre Communications to install a shaft and flange reinforcement to the existing tower, according to Robles.
The Sanford Building and Fire Prevention Division are waiting on plans from Crown Castle Tower in order for cell tower removal in order to expedite the issuance of cell tower construction permits.