Tower Collapse On Warm Springs Mountain Knocks WCHG Off The Air

Warm Springs, VA – On Sunday afternoon a tower collapse on Warm Springs Mountain took WCHG and Allegheny Mountain Radio off the air, along with Bath County Emergency Services communications. Robbie Chestnut is the Fire Chief for the Hot Springs Fire Department and he has been up to the tower.

“When I went up last night with Bath County Emergency Services Coordinator Andy Seabolt, the tower had came off of its platform and fell to the east” he says. “Pretty much everything that was on it, from what I could tell yesterday evening is ruined it’s not good, it’s pretty well destroyed. WCHG, the Hot Springs Fire and Rescue repeaters were on the tower. All of the Homesteads communication through their mechanical department was on the tower.”

“The Sheriffs’ office, the community repeater which the school buses use, and as far as I know, I think that’s it, but there may be more. I believe it took down two of the electrical poles and the lines that were on those; all of those came down. It looked like the guide wires that was [sic] holding the tower snapped. It looked to me like they had come loose pretty severely because of the way they coiled back up; and then it looked like where the bolts were through the bottom of the tower, they had worked loose and broke off, and the tower went over.”

“The first 25-30 foot of it looks like it should, but from there on, it’s not good. The 911 dispatch center and the Sheriffs’office was very diligent about getting something done as quick as possible for emergency services. They contacted me in case we did have a call during this time we could use another repeater which is Duncans Knob or Mountain Grove. Andy Seabolt, went to the mountain; myself and the Captain from the fire dept went with him. Robbie Weaver with the Sheriffs office was already on the scene up there. We just put up a little antenna to try and talk for now” says Chestnut.

They now have a portable tower from the Virginia Dept of Emergency Management for their communications. Bath County’s Emergency Services communications are operating at about 75% capacity. Bath County Emergency Services Coordinator Andy Seabolt and Allegheny Mountain Radio engineer Chuck Niday are working to assess damage.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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