Text reformulated from the French media
A repeater antenna for the television signal and mobile phones was severely damaged on Saturday 24th August 2019 by a fire that occurred at around 1:30 in so- called Bois du Laoul site in the municipality of Bourg-Saint-Andéol.
It took at least two hours for the fire brigade to put the fire out given the difficulties of intervening at such a great height. Gendarmes called to the spot found clear signs of forced entry into the site around the antenna, leaving little doubt concerning the fire’s deliberate origin. The ‘research brigade’ of the Teil gendarmerie is responsible for this investigation.
Many TV and radio users have not been getting their usual programs since this morning. In particular, this is the case for about 50,000 France Bleu Drôme-Ardèche listeners and about 70,000 viewers who receive TV signals via TNT in southern Ardèche and southern Drôme near Bourg-Saint-Andéol, Pierrelatte, Saint Paul-Trois-Chateaux and Donzère. Licence holders in Bouygues, SFR and Free have also been affected.
‘Télédifusion De France’ (TDF), that manages the mast, is hoping to reconnect France Bleu listeners by the end of the day. On the contrary, for TNT viewers this ‘won’t be possible before the beginning of next week’, said Amélie Zénone, head of south-east operations at TDF. ‘This relay antenna is a kind of concrete tower. And the whole internal structure has been affected. We must guarantee the structure’s safety right away. So we can’t do on the spot repairs; we can only seek fall-back solutions to restore the radio signals in particular’, she added.
This is not the first time that an antenna has been targeted by a deliberate act. About two years ago, on 18th July 2017, another signal relay station in the south of Ardèche, in St-Laurent-sous-Coiron near Col de l’Escrinet was burnt and 165,000 homes in Ardèche and Drôme were without telephone and TNT signals. And a few weeks earlier, on 15th July, the Beaufort-sur-Gervanne antenna in Diois was sabotaged.
France Bleu ‘most of the antenna power cables and the sites where technical equipment was stored were burnt’.
[Translated by Act fot freedom now!]