Fire in Pr. George's Cell Phone Tower Extinguished

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 14, 2006; 2:42 PM

Prince George's County firefighters this morning extinguished a fire that broke out in a cell phone tower in Temple Hills where contract workers were applying additional support beams, a fire department spokesman said.

The fire ignited around 11:10 a.m. in the 5300 block of Beech Place, said Mark Brady, chief spokesman for the county fire department. Contract workers were using a welder to apply the support beams, and plastic pipeway inside the tower caught fire, Brady said.

It took county firefighters about a half hour to put out the blaze, Brady said. Firefighter used a 100-foot tower ladder to help extinguish the blaze. Fire and heavy smoke was visible from the top of the tower to about three-quarters of the way down, he said.

The tower at one point leaned to one side, and about a dozen workers from a nearby waste management company were briefly evacuated, Brady said.

After the tower cooled, it straightened out, Brady said. The tower, owned by the cell phone company Sprint, sustained about $75,000 in damage, and Sprint officials said they will replace the tower, he said. No injuries were reported.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company