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

  • Matthew Benson

    That is horrible news. It saddens me to see fellow Tower Techs parish. I hope this.will be addressed within all tower companies and hopefully a very thorough inspection with be.conducted to.determine what went.wrong and hownit.can be avoided in the future

  • Mountain Man

    Prayers and sympathy to families of the tower workers from Oklahoma and the firefighter from WV. A sad day for all.

  • shirley

    My Son was one of the contractors that survived he will be screwed up for rest of his life being on that tower that collapsed killing 2 of his buddies..he is 28 and has a 4 year old son and a baby on the way ...Please everyone keep my Son in your prayers and the families that lost their Son,Father or brother or friend ...God bless

    • flossrancher

      What a coincidence, Shirley, that you are here in West Virginia, your son lives and works in Oklahoma, and his job sent him here to West Virginia to work! (You didn't read the whole article before making up that story about your son, did you? haha!)

  • Blue

    HDTV killed lots of tower technicians as well.

    Doing mods on big towers is not an easy job. It takes time and skill. Costs money as wel.

    You can expect to see more of these events happening due to the newest (222/G3) revision of tower standards to make them safer.

    Making towers safer will take more lives of the people that do not take the proper safeguards during the modification process.

    Once again, it is all about making money.

    I have worked on towers for over 20 years.

  • blugldmn

    How many people have died from the Freedom Industries leak yet people want that business shutdown and sued out of existence ....

  • CAP6 (R)

    My thoughts, condolences, and prayers are with all of the families who lost a loved one in this tragic event.
    I always mourn the loss of life and I am always hit hard by the loss of a brother firefighter. Michael was doing what he loved best. He answered the call to duty and gave his life in an attempt to save the lives of others. There can be no greater love than to sacrifice your life while striving to save the lives of total strangers.

    Fireman’s Prayer
    When I am called to duty, God
    whenever flames may rage,
    Give me the strength to save some life
    Whatever be its age.
    Help me to embrace a little child
    Before it’s too late,
    Or some older person
    from the horror of that fate.
    Enable me to be alert
    And hear the weakest shout,
    And quickly and efficiently
    to put the fire out.
    I want to fill my calling
    and give the best in me,
    To guard my neighbor
    And protect his property.
    And if according to Your will
    I have to lose my life,
    Please bless with Your protecting hand
    My children and my wife

    Rest in peace my brother and just know some day we will all continue to answer the bell in that great firehouse in the sky.

    CAP 6 (R)

  • Amy Trifonoff

    I know the fire fighter. A true hero. He will be missed! He was doing his calling and made the ultimate sacrifice. He will never be forgotten. Thoughts, prayers, and hugs to his family, his company, and the rest of his friends. Rest easy, Loves.

  • 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.

    • Charlie edmiston

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

    • Fyreman1

      Did your parents have any kids that lived?

    • 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.

    • Jonus Grumby

      Uhhh, 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.

    • BH

      I am so sorry for your loss.

  • 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.