A controlled demolition brought a fire-damaged 1,030-foot television mast crashing down to earth on Wednesday, after it was determined the huge tower was beyond repair following the mystery blaze.
More than one million people were left without terrestrial broadcast television and radio in the north-West of England in early August when the regional television Bilsdale Television Mast caught fire. When it was discovered that the 1,030 foot (314 meters) mast had been left “beyond repair” by the fire the decision was taken to demolish the mast, a process euphemistically referred to as “dismantling” the giant structure by the engineering firm responsible.
An explosive charge took out the base of the tower, which still anchored by its steel guy lines fell down almost vertically, bending into segments at the bottom as it fell. Aerial footage of the site showed some parts of the mast, which until this week was one of the tallest structures in the UK, even taller than the Shard skyscraper that now disfigures the central-London skyline, had landed on the roof of the relay buildings at its base.
Despite it having been nearly two months since the initial fire which damaged the mast and destroyed the broadcast equipment it carried, large numbers of people in the North West of England are still without television service. A new — much shorter at 260 feet — temporary power will go online next week, but construction and fit-out has been delayed by bad weather.
The BBC reports the new temporary tower should serve 95 per cent of homes in the region and those not reached will be given free satellite television receivers. Some in the area will even have their television licenses refunded, the Northern Echo reported.
The cause of the initial fire remains unknown. While deliberate sabotage to data infrastructure is not unknown in Europe, at the time of the fire it was reported that a “criminal act” was not believed to have been responsible. Nevertheless, nearly two months later the cause of the fire is still unknown and engineering firm Arqiva say they will be recovering parts of the mast from the wreckage to analyse for clues to how it set on fire in the first place.
Bilsdale transmitter fire: TV and radio disrupted in 1m homes. https://t.co/uTyn1cPDz9
— BBC Radio Tees (@BBCTees) August 10, 2021