WEATHERSFIELD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – After the initial explosion failed, the demolition of the smokestacks in Trumbull County turned into an all-day event.
The smokestack at the former Ohio Edison electric generation plant on Belmont Avenue in Weathersfield Township was demolished Friday.
Controlled explosives were used to bring it down.
It was originally supposed to be demolished at 9 a.m. Friday morning, but when the explosives went off, the smokestack didn’t fall.
Crews said they would wait an hour to see if it would fall on its own. According to a fire official, it was leaning 17 degrees at the time.
Just before 11:30, they started drilling holes in the base of the smokestack to put more explosives in.
Then, the demolition was pushed further back to 3 p.m. until finally, the explosives were reloaded, and the smokestacks were brought down after 4:30 p.m.
It was a landmark in the town. The plant stood for over 110 years, and many people waited around all day to see it brought down.
“They say, what, 4:30 they’re supposed to do it? It was between eight and nine, and it’s three. Now it’s 4:30. We’re going to be here until midnight,” said Shawn Squires, a neighbor of the tower, during the wait.
Built in 1980, the smokestack became a landmark for the community.
During the seven plus hour wait, people shared their memories of the tower.
“I’m used to hearing all the, you know, when they would let the steam off and make a loud noise. It used to scare me,” said another neighbor, Mary McClimans.
The 400-foot tall stack even had an elevator to the top, giving workers at the plant quite a view of the area.
Spectators had mixed views on the demolition, some good, some bad, but the smokestack will be remembered forever.
“Oh, it puts a little tear in your eye, but it’s one of them things. It’s progress. You know, you have to… It is better to tear it down than leave it standing and let it rot away, and that’s what it’s been doing about the last 10 years,” said former Ohio Edison employee, Rich Rook.
Rook says the stack had an elevator that would carry workers nearly all the way to the top. They would use a series of ladders to climb the rest of the way.
The two flumes at the top are the actual vents for the stack, he said, and the gasses would pass through long pipes to get out of the flumes. From the very top, workers could see Mosquito Reservoir to the north and downtown Youngstown to the southeast.
At one time, there were 120 workers, Rook said, but near the end when it was sold, there were 35.
First energy turned it over to Duquesne Light in 1998, and there have been four or five different owners since then.
“The older people for generations…they’ve seen it for years,” said Ralph Dunco Jr. of Weathersfield. “Got many home, like it’s a historical site in our eyes.”