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Nexstar brings down Texas TV tower at risk of collapse

Some residents were evacuated ahead of the tower's decommissioning, and classes were canceled at a nearby school.

Some residents were evacuated ahead of the tower's decommissioning, and classes were canceled at a nearby school.

The television transmission tower used by Nexstar Media Group's KGBT in Texas. (Photo via Google Street View)
The television transmission tower used by Nexstar Media Group’s KGBT in Texas. (Photo via Google Street View)

A leaning television tower briefly forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in a small Texas town before it was safely decommissioned on Friday.

The 1,337-foot transmission tower was used by Nexstar Media Group’s Harlington-based station KGBT (Channel 4), which serves the area of Brownsville.

The transmitter was erected in the small town of La Feria, which has slightly more than 7,000 residents. During a routine inspection of the tower, engineers with the television station noticed one of its 24 support cables had broken, putting the tower at risk of collapse.

A statement by Nexstar shared with some local media outlets said the tower was designed to fall in a “downward spiral” that was limited to 150 feet. But, as a precaution, residents at dozens of nearby homes were encouraged to evacuate on a precautionary basis while engineers worked to decommission the tower. Nexstar arranged for displaced residents to spend two nights at a local motel; around 20 families took the broadcaster up on that offer, and the City of La Feria will cover their hotel bills.

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On Thursday, officials at the La Feria Independent School District said classes at David G. Sanchez Elementary School would be canceled because of the tower’s potential risk for collapse. Classes are expected to resume on Monday.

The 1,337-foot television tower was brought down safely after engineers at the Texas TV station warned it was at risk of collase. (Still frame via KGBT broadcast)
The 1,337-foot television tower was brought down safely after engineers at the Texas TV station warned it was at risk of collapse. (Still frame via KGBT broadcast)

Engineers got to work on Friday morning, safely bringing the tower down in several phases. There was no threat to the public, and no damage caused to any homes or other nearby structures.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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