CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Two contractors and a firefighter were killed Saturday when a 300-foot cell tower collapsed and subsequently toppled a smaller tower.

The towers, owned by SBA Communications, are located on Murphy’s Run Road in the Summit Park area of Clarksburg.

Four contractors—some of whom were tethered to the tower 70 feet above ground—were attempting to reinforce the taller structure when it fell around 11:30 a.m., killing two of the men.

State Police on Sunday identified the contractors killed as Kyle Kirkpatrick, 32, from Hulbert, Okla., and Terry Lee Richard, Jr., 27, Bokoshe, Okla.

A Nutter Fort firefighter, 28-year-old Clarksburg resident Michael Dale Garrett, was killed when the smaller tower fell as emergency crews made a rescue attempt.

Two contractors remained hospitalized late Saturday, reportedly with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and the injuries to the other individuals and our prayers and concern go out to the families involved,” SBA Communications said in a statement. “SBA Communications is cooperating fully with any type of investigation being conducted by governmental agencies. We realize the sensitivity surrounding such an unexpected event and have mobilized our team to be on the scene to assist with any information needed.”

Summit Park Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brenda Fragmin said rescue operations were underway to free the four trapped contractors when the tower fell on Garrett.

Jeremy Haddix, Nutter Fort fire chief, said the injured firefighter died at United Hospital Center.

“It is with great sadness that the Nutter Fort Fire Department is confirming the line of duty death of one of our members. … We ask that you keep his family and all members of the Nutter Fort Fire Department in your prayers.”

State Police Cpl. Mark Waggamon said the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate.

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Comments

  • leroy j gibbs

    God bless the fallen and the families involved. God bless our volunteer firefighters and first responders.

  • mike Messaros

    Thoughts and prayers to all the families affected by this tragedy.

  • blugldmn

    Cell phones need to be outlawed , look at all the lives lost due to their use. Accidents like this for towers that ruin the scenery . Unknown effects of constant use on the brain . Thousands of traffic related deaths due to their use while driving, worse than driving drunk.
    We can live without them people... If it saves just one life isn't it worth it.

    • Jonus Grumby

      Uhhh, right.

    • a cannon

      You probably typed that on your CELL phone. Those towers that ruin your scenery PRIMARILY provide emergency communication and location services for our EMT, fire, and police forces. For you to say that cell phones should be banned because of a tower collapse is like me saying that your use of a cell phone contributed to the death of my fellow tower workers and a first responder. FACT IS, accidents happen and people die. It is a very dangerous job. Statistically, I am safer on a tower than you are in your on your way to work.

    • Fyreman1

      Did your parents have any kids that lived?

    • Charlie edmiston

      You do realize you need towers to bring you your news right?

  • LEE ARTHUR

    Prayers to the victims and their families.

  • Liz

    I dated a guy from wv and he worked on cell towers... i hope it wasn't him. Haven't been in touch with him or his mom in ayear and wish i knew the names of the contractors. Always scared me that thats what he did for a living. This is so sad.

  • Crystal

    A dear friend of my husband and I was one if the victims who lost their life today. I just pray peace over all the families that are hurting and trying to cope with the loss of their loved ones. I know that a few friends of our friend have already commented and I just want to say that I hope your hearts are healed along with my own. This is such a tragic situation.

  • Kris

    The blame rests in nobody's shoulders not what I was implying its a tragedy for everyone that was involved my condolences for them all including you just stating a fact about the industry that is an awful reality just speaking from a tower hands perspective In general voices that are generaly ignored till it is to late not pointing fingers at anybody I believe my brother deserves a voice in his behalf apologies

  • Jonus Grumby

    I understand the injured firefighter has succumbed to his injuries. Please, let's all focus our thoughts on the victims & families at this tragic time and not attempt to lay blame until the investigation is complete.

  • terry

    One of the tower workers was a friend and neighbor to me, and I am in deep sorrow.

    • flossrancher

      I am surprised that so many of you people in Oklahoma read this West Virginia news site.

  • Kris

    My deepest condolences to all those involved in this horrible accident, one of which was my best friend for over half of my life. I have been in the tower industry for almost five years and incidents like this are devistating to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives because somebody in an office decided that an inspection of the tower and guyed wire tensions wasn't important because they wouldn't be the ones up there anyways. Sadly that's how they think and the wrong people pay the price

    • Jim

      Company should be fined serious if it didn't follow sop for working on this. There are a lot of load wind restrictions ect. That need to be figured into repairing tower. So sad for all that lost their life

  • tower mom

    what is the name of the company the men worked for do you know??? My son and other family do cell work. Prayers for your family! Im so sorry for your loss.

    • Kim

      The contractors that died were from Oklahoma.

  • Jason Hubble

    God bless the families of these brave men. Godspeed to them.
    Prayers that God will wrap his loving arms around their hurting hearts and give them peace. Prayers for the injured that they heal quickly.

    God Bless,
    Jason

  • Glen

    My nephew was one of the men killed he will be missed

  • concerned

    It is unfortunate that the men and women who do these jobs are constantly pushed to work in dangerous conditions such as this. These towers should be properly maintained throughout their entire existance. Tragically many of the fallen tower climbers families are left uncared for. Who is to blame for this blatant disregard for human life? It is sad that we live in a world where we do most communicating, business, and socializing with our cellular device and the people who risk thier lives to provide the constantly changing service are not even recognized. For more information on these issues check out wirelessestimator.com .

    • Patchy

      These workers WERE attempting to maintain the towers that obviously had a structural defect. Your statement is a non sequitur.

      Cell service and infrastructure is a business. People 'recognize' same by buying and using the business' offerings. Occupational hazards are just that; they should be mitigated and minimized but as a society we can't give out trophies and hold parades for everyone who engages in at-will employment. 'Constantly pushed to work in dangerous conditions' is hyperbolic and misleading especially given the volumes of safety regulations already on the books.

      I am sympathetic to the loss of life and the impact on loved ones but using the tragedy to advance an agenda, even a 'good' one, is tacky in the extreme.

    • Shadow

      If you have a cell phone, you are as guilty as anyone of us.

  • Independent View

    SAD, SAD, SAD. Prayers to the families.!