Cellphone tower fire prompts evacuations in Sanford - FOX 35 News Orlando

Cellphone tower fire prompts evacuations in Sanford

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A cellphone tower in Sanford sat charred and leaning after it caught on fire Wednesday morning.

Firefighters responded to reports that the 125-foot cellphone tower was burning shortly before noon.  The tower is located on Historic Goldsboro Boulevard near U.S. Hwy 17-92.

Power had been shut down to the area and some nearby homes and businesses were evacuated.  Some also reported a disruption in their cellphone service.

Vincent Girardi works right across the street at a tire shop. He said he heard the commotion and came out to see what had happened.

"The whole top of the tower had flames and fire shooting out of it!"

Video from Girardi's cell-phone shows black smoke coming from the top of the tower.  He said people were cleared out and power was out for about 2 hours, while the city worked to make sure the tower didn't collapse.

"The phones don't work, can't use machines to change tires with. It's basically got me dead in the water," Girardi said.

According to fire officials, several people were repairing the tower when it appears a welder may have sparked flames which led to the uncontrollable fire. 

"The fire got a little to hot for them and their main focus was for them to evacuate and get to the ground as soon as possible," said Sanford Fire Marshal Tim Robles.

The workers tried to take a basket down the tower, but one of the lines failed.  One worker rappelled off of the basket while another climbed all the way down the tower.

There still is no final decision on when or if the tower will be dismantled.

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