Big Spring, TX antenna crashes on power line, Feb 1954

Antenna Crashes On Power Line, Darkens Section

Three persons were knocked to the ground, several trailer houses were set on fire and a portion of the city was plunged into darkness when a television antenna fell into a 12,500 volt power line at the east edge of the city early Saturday night.

James Butler, who occupies a trailer house at the D & G Courts, said he and his wife and a neighbor were attempting to erect the TV antenna when the 36-foot metal pole got overbalanced and crashed into the power line. All three were thrown to the ground by force of the electrical shock.

Witnesses said streaks of fire shot into the air, and adjacent trailers were set on fire.

City firemen were called to extinguish the blaze in a trailer owned by M. J. Pellusch. They said the interior of that trailer suffered considerable damage and that furnishings and clothing were charred.

Apparently most of the damage to other trailers was confined to electrical wiring.

T. J. Mark, who said he was assisting Mr. and Mrs. Butler as they attempted to raise the antenna, said the electrical shock knocked him to the ground immediately. He and Butler were raising the antenna standard, while Mrs. Butler was holding a guy wire.

All three felt a terrific shock, but none required medical attention.

Electric service was restored to part of the area affected within half an hour, but the section in the immediate vicinity of the trailer court was without power until after 10 p.m.

Radio station KBST went off the air at 7:43 p.m. when the power source for its transmitter was cut off. Andy Jones, chief engineer for KBST, said he saw the arc flash from the radio station's transmiter, which is located north of the T & P tracks at the east edge of town.

Mrs. R. M. Gardner, 1600 Owens Street, witnessed the flash from a mile and a half east on U. S. 80. At first she had her back to the west when there were flashes. As she turned around, there were bright flashes, the last producing an audible rumbleas if from some explosion. Mrs. Gardner thought that is [sic] was a series of blasts, though much further west.

The police radio was knocked out temporarily and downtown traffic lights were out for a quarter of an hour.

Several people in western Big Spring reported they saw the brilliant flashes.

The Big Spring Daily Herald, Big Spring, TX 21 Feb 1954