This is the War Stories Section of
The Broadcast Archive

Maintained by:
Barry Mishkind - The Eclectic Engineer

Pictures of the KFI - 640 tower that fell

La Mirada (Los Angeles), CA December 19, 2004

On 12/19/04, a small private plane rammed into the KFI tower, apparently about ten feet below the top.

Just over seven months since the tower was refurbished, it was a total loss.

Most of these photos are courtesy of Brian Hamm, who works in the complex where the tower was located. 
The shots of the rebuilt tower are from Paul Sakrison.

Alerted because the studio was unable to get back on the air after an interruption, The engineer arrived
in La Mirada to discover, to his horror, the 750 foot tower was on the ground. 
Service was restored with a shorter (200 foot) auxiliary tower. 


Helicopter photos showing the collapse, with most of the tower falling inside the fence.

At ground level, you can see how the tower parts that escaped the
enclosure, still missed the buildings ... just 20 or 30 yards away!

It is almost amazing way the tower managed to
fall without hitting anyone, nor the buildings. (Some slight damage was
sustained by one roof, due to a guy wire whipping through.)

From the other side of the tower enclosure.

Another view of the tower section, as it lay on the ground.

A demonstration of the "abrupt vibration" method of paint removal.
Not exactly where and how you want your tower to sit!

Rebuilding was hampered by the political and zoning processes (as if zoning was
 not political), and eventually KFI agreed to reduce the height of the new tower by 
75 feet - even though most experts agreed there was no real navigation danger

It took almost four years for the rebuild to get past those political and zoning processes,
the FCC applications, and an abortive start (where a bolt broke and took down the 
partially completed tower. Finally, on August 12, 2008, KFI returned to 50 kW on its new tower.

Paul Sakrison kindly provided these pictures of the new tower. 

The tower is 75 feet shorter than the original 1947 tower, but has a "top hat" at the 
675 foot level to make the tower electrically the same as before. 
The top hat itself is 50 feet across.

The elevated guy anchors were carefully redone to avoid a 
repetition of the disastrous collapse of the first tower rebuild.


Interesting places to go from here:

The KFI tower site (before the crash) is located here.

Back to the "Towers Down!" War Story section.

More KFI History

Newcomb Weisenberger's KFI Stories

Main index

Some other sites with post-crash pictures: