Cell Tower Collapse Could Have Been Prevented

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– There are new questions in south St. Louis in the wake of a cellular tower collapse in high winds Tuesday afternoon.  FOX 2 has obtained video showing the tower swaying violently in a different wind storm nearly three months earlier.  Witnesses say someone apparently tried to make repairs, though the work clearly was not enough.

Martin Howard is a security guard who works at a nearby grocery store.  He shot the video in question on his phone back in December.  The images show the tower swaying from left to right with a great deal more flexibility than would seem normal.  Howard was concerned enough that he had people parked nearby move their cars farther away.

“There was like an uneven seam in it and they had already been out there before to fix it, and the seam was still there and it was swaying and I was saying, that sucker’s gonna snap off because there was nothing tethering it down.”

His prediction came true Tuesday. Gusting winds tore in on the tail end of morning snow showers. The tower apparently flexed again, then snapped.

“I heard a loud crackle and bang,” Howard said of the pole, which was “sliding down and breaking apart and hitting the brick building, and then swinging back up and hitting the other building.”

The owner of a nearby business, Ross Watson, owns the brick building that was hit.

“It sounded as if it were incoming howitzer,” he said of the noise.

He wasn’t surprised by the video when we showed it to him.

“I’ve seen this thing in this condition before,” Watson said.

He and Howard both agree it’s miraculous no one was hurt in the incident.  And both find it a little disconcerting that it might have been prevented.

FOX 2 attempted to contact the tower’s owner, Crown Castle International, both at their St. Louis location and at their corporate offices in Houston, Texas.  Our calls were not returned.

Strong Winds Knock Over Cell Phone Tower And Scare Witnesses