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Two more cell towers went up in flames north of Montreal
MONTREAL -- Two cell towers in separate towns northwest of Montreal were on fire early Monday morning, following a similar event on Friday.
A technician who was called to check on the first tower in Piedmont at around 3:40 a.m. noticed the flames.
“We’re talking about a significant fire,” Quebec’s provincial police force said, adding that the technician had been sent to check on the tower because it was malfunctioning.
Just 20 minutes later, a minor fire was reported at a cell tower in Prévost, a town located under 10 kilometres away from Piedmont.
Police are describing the events as suspicious and investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fires. There are no suspects so far.
A Bell Canada spokesperson said on Monday that the Prévost tower had Bell equipment on it.
"Bell teams are restoring mobile service to the region with temporary solutions while we work to repair these sites," Bell spokesperson Caroline Audet said in an email to CTV News. "We are investigating the cause with the local fire departments, the Sûreté du Québec and the competing supplier who operated one of the towers. Bell's equipment was installed on the Prévost site."
Prévost had announced via its Facebook page just a day before that there are no 5G towers in the area.
On Friday, a cell tower in Laval originally believed to be a 5G was set on fire. The tower's owner, Rogers Communications, later stated that the tower is used for 3G and 4G technology.
Towers around the world have been targeted by conspiracy theorists who believe the latest cellular network technology – 5G – has adverse effects on health. Many believe the technology is somehow linked to the COVID-19 virus.
Conspiracy theorists say the virus is able to communicate through radio waves; that 5G is responsible for the virus’ symptoms; and that it can affect the immune system.
“To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies," the World Health Organization stated back in February.
Telecommunications companies have said many of the towers that have been vandalized really only support 3G and 4G networks, causing an inconvenience to customers more than anything else.
"When vital communications infrastructure is destroyed by criminal acts, lives are put at risk by removing the ability for local citizens to call 911," Telus Communications, who had equipment on the Laval tower, said on Friday. "Our networks are more important than ever during the COVID-19 crisis in enabling Canadians to stay connected to their jobs, schools, medical help, government services, and loved ones."
On Monday, the RCMP said it is prepared to assist police in Quebec as they investigate potential vandalism to the towers.
"The RCMP continues to work with police, government and industry partners to protect Canada's critical infrastructure," said Catherine Fortin of the RCMP in an emailed statement to CTV News. "Investigators are constantly assessing threats and risks and are implementing the necessary measures to protect the safety of the public."