Engineers Investigate Tower Collapse - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/4/06-Tyler

Engineers Investigate Tower Collapse

Engineering experts are trying to find the reason the KLTV 7 News broadcast tower fell in Red Springs yesterday. A crew of engineers is looking at every possible angle, stress points, welding points, anything that could explain the fall of a more than 1,000 feet tower yesterday morning.

"Why did it come down, I want to know, especially the fact that we'd had the recent inspections professional tower people up looking at it, no problems reported. So I want to know why it's on the ground," said KLTV chief engineer Butch Adair.

Engineers from KLTV and our parent company "Raycom" are scouring the site hoping that somewhere in the twisted mass of metal, a clue will pop up, but an easy answer may not be there.

"It sure would be nice to see a smoking pistol and say ah ha that's what it is. No, whatever happened here is not very obvious. There's nothing here that is obvious to make it easy to understand what happened," said Raycom Media Vice President of technology Dave Folsom.

The team is looking for anything that might give them a clue as to what happened here, everything from frayed cables to weaknesses in the structure. Experts, including metallurgists will be called in to analyze the wrecked tower to see if any weaknesses existed in the structure, but something that the regular inspections would have caught.

"They're regularly inspected to protect them. Obviously, they look for anything abnormal, anything that might be loose, anything that might be rusting, just anything that's out of the norm," Adair says.

An independent investigating team of engineering specialists will also be at the site within the next two days to inspect every inch of the tower.

"When failures happen like this, it's usually something extremely subtle, and it requires experts to come in and take a look.  The staff here at KLTV is some of the best in the country.  They were able to handle the crisis very quickly and its shown in the quick recovery and getting back on the air," Folsom said.

The answer to why the tower fell, may determine how engineers rebuild on the site in the future.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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