A transmission tower atop Mount Mansfield caught fire Tuesday afternoon, forcing WCAX-TV and WPTZ-TV off many viewers' screens.
Emergency responders extinguished the fire by 6 p.m., according to WCAX general manager Jay Barton, and nobody was injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
The burning transmission tower
The remote tower, owned by WCAX, hosts antennae used by Vermont Public Radio and Vox AM/FM, but only a television antenna shared by WCAX and WPTZ appears to have been damaged, Barton said.
According to Barton, roughly half of his station's viewers have lost access to its broadcast, including customers of the Dish Network, DirecTV, Spectrum, Burlington Telecom and Vermont Telephone Company. Comcast/Xfinity customers were unaffected.
WCAX employees first noticed technical issues at around 2:45 p.m., Barton said. An engineer dispatched to the mountain saw the fire and reported it to authorities at around 4 p.m.
Barton said his station hopes to restore access to most viewers by Wednesday or Thursday, though it's unclear how long it will take to repair the antenna. "If it's prolonged, it becomes a very large problem," he said.