ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 2100 block of Meridian Road from Auburn to W. State Street has been closed due to an unstable news tower on Thursday.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances this morning we were forced to cut our newscast short while still on air,” said Michael Silecchia, general manager of WQRF-TV. “A situation with our tower caused all our employees to leave the station premises as quickly and safely as possible. We want to make sure our staff and neighbors are safe. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. Our team is working swiftly to ensure we are up and running as soon as possible.”
Station management has said a guy wire that secures the tower may be loose, and they have notified authorities out of an abundance of caution.
A guy wire is a tensioned cable designed to add stability to the tower.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office has closed Meridian Road and notified residents in the neighborhood to the north of WQRF and WTVO, which is located at 1917 N. Meridian Road.
The event follows a winter ice storm that blanketed the Rockford region on Wednesday night, downing wires and knocking out power to thousands of residents.
Power company ComEd said it expects 80% of those affected to have power restored by Thursday night, but due to the scope of the storm, some may not have full restoration until Saturday.
On March 2nd, 2012, the station was forced to evacuate after heavy snow and winds caused a guy wire to gallop, and 12 neighboring homes were evacuated.
On July 5th, 2003, the WIFR-TV tower was knocked down by a microburst produced by a powerful storm. No one was hurt, and a new tower was erected by October 30th, 2003.