Smithfield, N.C. — The communications tower damaged by high winds Thursday afternoon in Smithfield was on the ground before dawn Friday, brought down in pieces by crews working overnight to prevent a collapse.
Homes and businesses near the intersection of U.S. highways 70 and 301 were evacuated Thursday evening after authorities said a cable snapped on the tower, making it unstable.
Capt. Bentley Powell of the Smithfield Fire Department said crews were dispatched to the tower at 4:46 p.m. to find it swaying in the wind. They spent hours evaluating the damage and getting people out of the potential danger zone.
"The tower was very unstable, and safety is our top priority," Powell said.
By 4:30 a.m., the danger has passed and the tower, cut in 30-foot sections, lay on the ground.
"It was a couple of hours to get the cranes set up, and just only a matter of 45 minutes to get the tower down safely," Powell said.
Authorities alerted the management of a Hardee's that they could reopen for breakfast. Powell said the other evacuees were being notified that it was safe to return. Brightleaf Boulevard reopened just before 6 a.m.