Radio tower damaged in storm, residents evacuated

(WTVD/Carter Rabil)

July 6, 2012 5:28:12 AM PDT
Severe weather crippled an old communications tower in Smithfield Thursday evening.

The tower, located off North Brightleaf Boulevard at the Centerpoint Shopping Center near the intersections of U.S. Highways 70 and 301, was leaning slightly in the middle after a support cable snapped during an afternoon storm.

Officials were concerned it might fall down, so they asked nearby homeowners to leave the area as a precaution.

"We have evacuated approximately 13 residents in the area where there is a potential fall," Acting Fire Captain Bentley Powell said. "We've actually closed two businesses, the Hardees and the Hibachi Grill across the road."

Brightleaf Boulevard was closed and traffic was detoured through a shopping center across the street, as crews worked for hours through the night to safely dismantle the 180 foot tall tower.

It was finally taken down in 30-foot segments just before 4 a.m.

The fire department allowed residents to return to their homes around 6:30 a.m. after they cleared the scene.

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