Authorities Investigate Granville Water Tower Collapse
Posted October 31, 2002
GRANVILLE COUNTY, N.C. — Crews in Granville County will try to stabilize a water tower that collapsed Wednesday, killing one worker and injuring three others.
Officials said the 500,000-gallon tank was under construction at a site, located between Highway 85 and Lion Station Road, south of Butner.
Authorities said workers were lifting a section of the bowl with a crane at the time of the collapse.
"It appears that the internal crane collapsed. They had a couple of employees on the walkway at the time when it happened," said Chief Danny Roberts, of the Butner Public Safety Department.
Michael Burton, a worker from Ohio, was killed when a piece of metal hit him. He was working on the ground at the time of the collapse.
Three other workers were transported to Duke Medical Center. One worker is listed in critical condition; two others suffered minor injuries.
Neighbors, who were nearby when the tower collapsed, rushed to help the workers.
"I heard this loud crashing sound around 10:50 a.m. and when I looked out, I happened to see the structure of the water tower they were building coming down," resident Marcus Boyd said.
"It was like a boom first and then a roar of thunder. It sounded like the thing was rolling down the street," resident Irther Sanford said.
Concerned about the safety of children in the area, Sanford put letters in residents' mailboxes warning them about the dangers of children playing around the collapsed water tower.
OSHA investigators have not said what led to the collapse, but said the scene is considered unstable.