Catherine’s Knob Tower


Monongalia County HSEM & MECCA 9-1-1 of Morgantown, West Virginia retained the consulting services of Marion Dougherty of Premier Construction Group, LLC (PCG) who, by extension, recommended the structural consulting services of Mark Malouf, principal of Malouf Engineering International (MEI), to asses observed structural problems with a 480’ guyed communications tower located on Catherine’s Knob near Fairview, West Virginia. That MEI assessment determined that the tower had “structurally failed” and was in imminent danger of collapse, at least partially, due to the observed damage from water which had previously frozen inside the legs of the tower.

Monongalia County instructed Premier Construction to proceed with the emergency demolition of the tower given the expected below freezing temperatures at the site that would have further compromised the structure if additional water had collected in the legs since last winter. When Randy Orchard of Installtek Communications, LLC, the tower demolition contractor selected by PCG, surveyed the structure toward preparing a demolition plan and proposal, he quickly determined that the condition of the tower presented too great a risk to his personnel using traditional tower dismantling/demolition methods.

PCG contacted Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, USA to perform the emergency preparation for and remote explosives felling of the structure. Using specialty explosives held in stock for emergency projects such as this, CDI’s three (3) man crew mobilized to the site and performed preparations for and the successful felling of the damaged, 480’ tall guyed structure in less than three (3) hours on Monday, November 16, 2020.