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Three die, two are injured in WV mobile phone tower collapse

Three men were killed after a construction accident in West Virginia on Saturday when two mobile phone towers collapsed. West Virginia State Police reported Sunday morning that two workers and one responding firefighter died when the towers fell in Clarksburg, WV on Saturday afternoon.  

The two workers were a 32-year-old and 27-year-old from Hulbert, Oklahoma and Bokoshe, Oklahoma, respectively. The firefighter was a 28-year-old man from Clarksburg and volunteer at the Nutter Fork Volunteer Fire Department.

Police reported that there were several workers repairing a 300+ foot cellular telephone tower in the Summit Park neighborhood of Clarksburg, WV when it collapsed. Officials say that the collapsing of the first tower weakened the second tower, causing another collapse.

The three men were pronounced dead at the scene and two more were taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV. The two injured men's injuries were described to reporters as non-life-threatening.

OSHA is investigating the accident and has said that the two workers were employed by S&S Communications Specialists. OSHA told reporters that there were four S&S contractors reinforcing the legs of the tower when it collapsed and that they were removing some type of stabilizing system when the accident happened.

The towers' owners, SBA Communications, says that it operates and maintains several towers throughout West Virginia and all over the country, as well as having towers in Central and South America. A SBA spokesperson was not available for comment after the accident.

OSHA says that the amount of communication tower accidents recently is alarming, citing this as at least the fifteenth such type of accident since the beginning of 2013. OSHA has officially said that they are addressing the increasing amount of accidents by making "outreach and enforcements" efforts, and providing written instruction on how to record tower accident information to tower locations across the country. OSHA reported in 2012 that between 2003 and 2011 there were 93 cell phone tower deaths.

Source: WBOY, "3 Dead, 2 Injured After Cell Tower Collapse" 1 February 2014

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