The Avondale Mill Smoke Stack in Pell City, Alabama stood tall for over 112 years before it was set to be demolished last week. It’s accompanying mill, which measured 225 by 640, closed in 2006 and was demolished for scrap 2 years later. The smoke stack gave crews a bit of trouble, as it took 3 attempts to take it down, with the last one almost killing the excavator operator in the process.
After two attempts at imploding the 158 foot tall, 2.6 million pound smoke stack, crews had no luck taking the structure down. ON the third attempt, they brought in an excavator to weaken the base to tip it over. That process worked, but the tower fell directly onto the excavator, with the operator still inside. There was a moment of panic as several onlookers rushed to the get the man out of the cabin, but, in the end, the operator escaped without a scratch.
The operator, Tim Phifer, told WIAT news, “the cab was made for that thing to turn over on top of it, I was safer inside the cab than coming out of it.”
The day following the collapse, OSHA launched an investigation to see how the incident could have been avoided.
The video below, uploaded to Youtube by Kevin Anderson, shows drone footage and an amazing view of the demolition.
Full story: VIDEO: Pell City smokestack collapses on excavator | WIAT News
On Monday morning, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that was being prepped for demolition suddenly collapsed, injuring one Project Manager that was struck by debris.
In January of 2018, ten construction workers were killed and another eight were injured when a bridge spanning the Chirajara canyon in Columbia partially collapsed. That collapse has since been blamed on a poor design, reports have stated. Last week, the remaining sections of the bridge were demolished in dramatic fashion.
A couple weeks ago, we shared a list of the 100 tallest buildings to ever be demolished. One of the most interesting things that I learned while researching for that article was that although Detroit’s Greater Department Hudson Store was not the tallest building on the list (it was #21), it was the tallest on the list to actually be imploded.
In February, JP Morgan Chased announced their plans to demolish their current 52-story headquarters located in Manhattan. Turns out, when that demolition is complete, it will also break the record for the tallest building ever voluntarily demolished.
One thing’s for sure, the only thing better than one structure being demolished is two structures being demolished at the same time. Late last week, a decommissioned Florida Power Plant saw to the implosion of two 462 feet tall cooling towers in spectacular fashion.
Demolitions by implosion seems like the easiest way to knock down a structure, but there is so much preparation that goes into it that even the slightest mistake can have a huge impact. When smokestacks are demolished correctly, it can be a thing of beauty, like when these two silos in Scotland hit each other midair or when this asbestos filled stack was precisely demolished to fall into a pool of water. Things didn’t go so smoothly for demolition crews in Denmark last week, however.
As we’ve seen in the past, demolitions aren’t all about implosions. There are still many manual demolitions that are carried out by skilled excavator operators. The Victoria Street Bridge in Ontario, Canada is a recent example of that.
It’s been a while since we have shared a demolition video on Construction Junkie. We recently discussed a very high profile demolition project, the tallest voluntary demolition on record, which is schedule to start next year and how it is expected to happen, but no videos. Between the cold weather in most of the country and the general lack of interesting demolitions happening, it’s good to finally be back to feeling normal around here.
A couple weeks ago, JP Morgan Chase announced that they planned to demolish their existing 52-story Manhattan headquarters, which is believed to be the tallest voluntary demolition in history, in order to build a 70 story, 2.5 million square foot building in its place. The move left preservationists upset at the idea of scrapping the nearly 60 year old building and others wondering how exactly they were going to safely demolish a building that tall in such a congested and busy area.
This year saw more videos with environmental considerations taken into account, especially over waterways. Instead of imploding entire bridges, the part that spanned over top of the waterway were manually removed. I've also grown an appreciation for in-depth footage of demolitions that occurred under some interesting conditions. Some of the videos below show some extreme creativity to overcome obstacles.