Prince George's County firefighters battled a blaze at a cell phone tower in Temple Hills Friday morning.
Units were called to the 5300 block of Beech Place just before 11 a.m. for a 125-foot tower on fire and leaning.
"People see it, and they see this large, humongous metal structure, and it's on fire," Mark Brady, of Prince George's County Fire and EMS. "And the only thing combustible about it is the wiring and the conduit inside of it, and that's exactly what was on fire."
According to the fire department, contractors doing welding work accidentally ignited conduit and wiring inside of the tower shaft. The heat caused the tower to lean, and a waste management company was evacuated.
Authorities said the fire was extinguished in about 35 minutes, and once the tower cooled down, it moved back into a vertical position.
The tower, which is owned by Cingular, was declared a total loss, and the integrity of the tower was compromised, so the tower was scheduled to be dismantled. A mobile tower will be set up until a new permanent structure can be built. Cell phone service may be spotty in the area until the mobile tower is erected.
Damages from the fire are estimated at $75,000.
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