Tower tech succumbs from 260-foot fall while endeavoring to bring broadband to the Spokane tribe

Originally Published by Wireless Estimator

A 24-year-old tower technician was killed Saturday, December 12, 2020 when he fell from a tower near Fruitland, Washington.

According to individuals knowledgeable of the incident, James Everette Shumate of Houston, Texas was at approximately 260 feet on the structure while it was being topped out when for an unknown reason he fell.

Shumate was employed by Quality Tower Services of Houston. According to his LinkedIn page he had been working for the company for over two years after serving in the Navy in aviation ordnance.

Quality Tower Services’ owner, George Jackson, said that his company was truly saddened by Shumate’s passing, but he could not provide any additional information since there was an open investigation by Washington State Labor & Industries (L&I).

Wireless Estimator was able to identify that the tower site was on the Spokane Tribe Reservation near Fruitland in Stevens County.

The structure in the West End was the last tower of four to be erected to provide reliable broadband and cell phone services to residents, according to Tribal Emergency Manager Reggie Peone, Jr., who said the Tribe was assisting L&I’s investigator.

The Spokane Tribe recently applied to the FCC to gain access to a 2.5 GHz band window, an unique opportunity for Tribes in rural areas to directly access unassigned spectrum over their Tribal lands.

Shumate was the eighth worker this year to die due to an accident that occurred while working on a communications site.

The Tower Family Foundation and the Hubble Foundation have been in contact with Shumate’s family to provide assistance.

GoFundMe page has also been set up to assist with expenses.

Funeral services are being handled by the Hardin Family Funeral Home in Houston.

Services information will be provided by Wireless Estimator when it becomes available.

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