Local News

Smithfield tower down, roads open

Posted July 5, 2012
Updated July 6, 2012

— 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.

Tower removed, Smithfield roads to reopen Tower removed, Smithfield roads reopen

"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. 


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  • RM24 Jul 6, 2012

    Did they mention why Hardees was contacted? Hardees is aprox 5 miles from that intersection. Several other businesses closer.

  • jd21 Jul 6, 2012

    Makes my radio heart sad to see a potentially good tower come down in a demolition kinda way like RKBA said. The tower seems to have been for a construction company office located next to it. They probably used it for 2-way Business type FM Radios in the days before cell phones killed most of them. Not sure it was in any active use anymore, but it really was a nice tower; could have made a great amateur radio repeater site or county/city emergency back-up tower with good guy lines replaced.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Jul 6, 2012

    This was a Rohn 25 tower. It would have been easier to get the bucket truck to reattach a new guy wire and pull it back into plumb, but it seems the previous owner of the tower abandoned it?

  • shortcake53 Jul 6, 2012

    Glad the tower is down and no longer a threat to anyone.

  • syracuse-slim Jul 6, 2012

    Yeah, you're right, it's "guy wire(s)....so sue me....

  • UpChuck Jul 6, 2012

    It's "guy" wire.

  • The Fox Jul 6, 2012

    Great work by the crews.

  • goner Jul 6, 2012

    "Guide wire". LOL

  • syracuse-slim Jul 6, 2012

    I believe that this tower was no longer in use, according to the other article on this subject. Kind of reminds of when the WRAL tower went down, not this or the other has anything to do with one another, except both were towers.

    BTW, rock at the present wral tower is about 30 feet down, I should know, I was the guy that had to figure out how to drill and keep the holes open so that they could be loaded and blasted to accommodate for the anchors for the guide wires holding the thing up. It was a lot of fun.....

  • jmf1073 5.0 Jul 6, 2012

    My cell phone is out this morning. :(