A fire that started in the wiring and progressed up the structure’s internal cables has brought local notoriety to a cell tower in Lapeer, MI. Witnesses told The County Press that when the 197-foot cell tower caught fire, they saw flames shooting out of the top. At ground level, the intense heat made the hot metal glow orange and pink. Officials from American Tower, the owner of the structure, arrived to launch a more thorough investigation of the destruction but acknowledged it suffered extensive damage.
It is not yet known what triggered the fire, but when the wiring inside the hollow pole burned, it left the structure weak, in danger of falling, and unable to deliver a signal. The initial assessment by representatives of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile calls for the tower to be re-stacked. The old tower will need to be dismantled first, and a crew with the correct equipment assembled to rebuild it, a process that could take some time.
Fire officials anticipate that American Tower will need to bring in a high-reach crane to reorient the tower to a vertical footing. In the meantime, the three servicing telecoms do not expect significant service disruptions. All the carriers said they are working to re-route calls so that people stay connected during the re-build.
Despite windy weather and nearby power lines, the destruction was contained by the Lapeer Fire & Rescue and Elba Township Fire Department.