New Hanover County athletic lights pass inspection

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Inspectors say the same stadium lights that have fallen and caused damage at several schools across the country is OK for now, on area campuses.

"We are very fortunate, because they have fallen," said Bill Hance, Assistant Superintendent for New Hanover County Schools.

Lights manufactured by Whitco Company have come crashing down at nine schools across the country, the most recent incident occurred last week in Norfolk, Virginia. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the poles last month.

Asst. Superintendent Hance says they discovered 24 Whitco light towers over fields in the school system, bringing classes and afterschool practices to a halt at Laney and Ashley High School.

"For safety, we have to take care of our kids and the students, so that was the main thing, but we are relieved that everything came out ok, that we don't have any problems," said Fred Lynch, Laney Athletic Director. "We're just blessed that nothing happened."

Engineers inspected the lights Tuesday and found no signs of damage, meaning activities can resume and Friday football can go on as scheduled. But school administrators know their job is not over.

"The fact that they're OK now, that's good for now, but then, what's going to happen later?" said Hance.  "So, we need to follow up on it."

The school system will look into completely replacing all the faulty lights, although he admits it will be hard to fin money in the budget.

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