Communications not yet back to normal following tower collapse

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) – Police, firefighters, and ambulance crews in northern Berkshire County are now able to communicate, after two communications towers on Florida Mountain were knocked down early Sunday morning, but cell phone service remains out for thousands of people in the area.

A strong gust of wind is being blamed for causing one of the towers to fall down on top of the other shortly after midnight after midnight Sunday, knocking out most cell phone coverage as well as emergency communication methods for fire, police and ambulance in the area.

The two towers, both of which stood over 150 feet high, are now mangled, destroyed and flat on the ground.

The loss of cell phone service frustrated some residents of the city.

“Nobody can call anybody because most of us don’t have landlines anymore in this day and age, so we have no communication, no emergency room, no anything and it just feels so…Ugg!” said Shannon Roberts from North Adams.

The owner of the tower, Corydon Thurston of North Adams Tower Company, vows to rebuild.

Until then, temporary communication measures have been put in place. They have moved emergency communications equipment to nearby temporary antennas that they put up after the main towers fell down.

Yet while public safety radio systems are now working, cell phone service is still out for a lot of customers.

Verizon has put up a makeshift tower, but wires still need to be connected and everything is not totally set up, so service remains out; particularly for Verizon, Sprint, and Nextel customers. AT&T also used the downed towers, but the company has another tower in the area that provides service to North Adams customers.

If anyone is still without cell service and in need of emergency help, they are being asked to either dial 911 on a landline phone, post on the North Adams Police Department Facebook page, or email them at NAPD911@gmail.com.

Thurston told 22News that he does not understand how the towers could have fallen, because they are rated to stand at wind gusts of up to 80-90 miles per hour, even if the towers have ice on them. The fastest nearby wind gust on Sunday was only 46-47 MPH at the North Adams Airport.

One of the fallen towers was 25 years old, while the other is a 50 year-old structure.

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