Tech is killed after 1,892-foot tower collapses while being repack retrofitted

In Featured News, Incident Report News by Wireless Estimator

UPDATE: April 20, 2018 – The deceased has been identified by authorities to be Steven Lemay, the owner of the erection company that was performing structural upgrades.

April 19, 2018 – An 1,892-foot TV tower in Webster County, Mo. collapsed this morning just before 10 a.m., killing a tall tower worker and injuring at at least five others with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the assistant fire chief of the Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District.

Knowledgeable sources have informed Wireless Estimator that the crew was employed by a Blaine, Washington-based installation contractor specializing in tall towers, Steve Lemay LLC . The company was performing reinforcement work on the public television structure as part of the Federal Communications Commission channel repack requiring KOZK-to move from channel 23 to channel 16.

Steve Lemay, who has over 25 years of experience in the tower industry, founded the company in 2013. A call to his company went to an answering service representative.

The tower broadcast KOZK television., according to a spokesman for Missouri State University, the structure’s owner.

Assistant Fire Chief Rob Talburt said the workers were at about 105 feet when the structure collapsed. However, according to an unconfirmed report, only one technicians was on the tower at the time of the incident and he was killed.

According to University documents, Tower Consultants, Inc. of Columbia, S.C. was managing the retrofitting project. A company spokesperson informed Wireless Estimator that they had no comments regarding the structure’s collapse at this time.

At the time of the tower collapse, wind speeds in Springfield, the closest National Weather Service reporting area, were between 13 and 16 mph.

The FCC’s first phase of stations needing to move to new channels must be completed by the end of this year.

The FCC earlier this month reaffirmed that the 39-month post-auction repack transition period remains unchanged and will not be extended.

Some safety advocates believe that the 39-month period is too short for the limited installation companies that specialize in tall tower work and could result in fatalities as the they rush to meet the deadline.

The erector’s death is the third industry fatality this month.