Two men were killed and two were injured when the tower they were working on collapsed, Feb. 1, outside of Clarksburg, W.Va. A firefighter also died when a second tower collapsed just minutes later after being weakened by the collapse of the first tower.
The tower was being worked on to deploy additional tenant equipment. The project was contracted by SBA Communications to an independent engineering firm, which in turn sub-contracted the work to S. and S. Communications Specialists, based in Oklahoma,” according to SBA spokesperson Lynne Hopkins.
The contractors, identified as Kyle Kirkpatrick, 32, and Terry Lee Richard, Jr., 27, both of Oklahoma, were both on a tower owned by SBA Communications repairing and removing old supports when the structure gave way. The third man killed, Michael Dale Garrett, 28, of Clarksburg, was with the Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department.
Three men were tethered at 70 feet and another at 20 feet above the ground when the accident occurred and were pinned underneath the wreckage.
“When the members of the fire department were approaching the [fallen] tower, a second, much smaller tower, collapsed,” Mark Waggamon, officer, W. Va. State Police, told TV channel 12 WBOY.
Two other contractors remain hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, and a second firefighter was treated and released.
SBA Communications has employees on site participating in the investigation, helping Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to determine how and why the accident happened.
“At this time we do not know why the accident occurred,” Hopkins said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Safety of and on our towers is and always will be a top priority at SBA. Please join us in keeping the deceased, injured and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”