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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Tower demolition done right

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The internet was abuzz this week with the video from Ohio of a 275′ smokestack  demolished with dynamite; it fell the wrong way, scaring a family that had gathered to watch the explosion from a vantage point in what they thought was the safe area.

It put me in mind of the great Fred Dibnah, the English steeplejack that brought down 90 disused mill smokestacks in his career. In densely populated areas he would demolish the giant chimneys one brick at time, climbing up in the morning and tapping the bricks apart with his hammer and chisel, filling buckets that he winched down by hand. It might take him a year, but no one got hurt and no dust or noise disturbed the area’s residents.

But his favourite method was to burn away one side of the base of the smokestack, and just let gravity bring down the structure in the direction he intended. His method was so accurate that near the end of the video above you can see him standing just a few feet from a burning tower that is about to crash down, smoking a cigarette and having a laugh with his crew, utterly confident that he was well out of harm’s way.

I love this video but it does take a bit of tuning your ears to the northern accent; think Coronation Street and you’ll be getting close to Fred’s dialect.


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