An AT&T communications tower that was 12 stories tall was dismantled after a fire broke out at 11 a.m. on Friday in Bensalem Township, Pa., about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia, MyFoxPhilly.com reported.
Though it is unclear how the blaze began, a maintenance crew was working on the 118-foot structure when the fire started.
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"I'm not exactly sure how it caught fire," an official told My Fox Philly. "I do know they were working up there. So whatever happened started the fire."
In a press conference later in the day, officials said they believed a maintenance crew was doing welding work on the tower, which could have caused the blaze to break out.
The crew was working 80 feet off the ground and had to rush to safety, after the fire began around 90 feet high, My Fox Philly reported.
Located on city property, the tower is near many residences, and authorities had to evacuate more than a dozen residents from their homes and senior citizens from a nearby retired living complex.
Shortly before noon, Bensalem Police tweeted, "Please avoid the area. More to follow. Area is be evacuated for precautionary measures."
"It was real scary, because flames were just going up for a good 45 minutes, " resident Merolene Robinson told WPVI.
"There was a lot of hot plastic falling, burning, and I didn't know if it was catching anything on fire."
Eventually, police established a 300-foot perimeter around the burning tower as fire fighters extinguished the flames.
Before the fire was contained, city officials were concerned that due to the tower’s size and the fact that the flames reportedly caused the massive structure to tilt in one direction, if it were to fall it could set surrounding trees and other shrubbery ablaze.
Despite the fire on the AT&T communications tower, cell phone service in the area was not affected, MyFoxPhilly.com reported.
The tower was safely dismantled by a crane hours later.
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