Good camera placement. Get a load of the girl that just wanted to
stand there under the high tension wires. The Darwin Awards nearly
claimed another one.
Shit happens, even for top-tier demo companies. As-built doesn't always
match the plans on record for how much rebar was used, the concrete
used, etc. When they took down the old Hudson's in Detroit several years
ago, they ended up damaging a segment of the elevated 'People Mover'
tramway. Especially true for older building where the records are
incomplete, and because older building were often built with a bigger
structural margin than modern buildings, simply because they didn't have
computers and decades of test results and lessons learned to draw from.
Then there is the semi-famous story about the Sands in LV. Controlled
Demolition came in and started to rig the place based on the plans. Soon
found that the contractor had much thicker cement and more rebar than
speced or required by codes. The conjecture was the contractor wanted to
run NO chance of getting on the wrong side of the Mob guys.
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
I've read that the Teamster's pension funds performed remarkably well and
that few ever welshed on a Teamster loan until Hoffa was forced out and
Federally appointed trustees took over.
I'm sure some of the remains found in the World Trade Center ruins were not
from 2001 but from when the building was built. The construction industry
in NYC was (and probably still is) totally mobbed up. Turns out the
building inspectors were on the Mafia payroll as well, at least according to
a story I read about all the concrete failures plaguing the city, like the
new walkways at Yankee Stadium. There are too many other cases to bother
citing them all but this search will give you an idea:
But here's a good start, a little old, but a good summary and I doubt much
Fans of the Sopranos have seen a lot of these schemes close-up.
I once watched a stone mantle accidentally get knocked over at a
party. I knew I was far enough away, I didn't account for the bounce!
I'm surprised they did not have it tied off some how to prevent it from
going into the wires. Overconfident?
Just how would you tie off a brick structure? Even if you only have
charges at the bottom, you never know exactly where the the joints will
let go. And even if it all holds together, and the cable doesn't snap,
then what the hell do you do? Pull on the cable and hope the top where
the cable is attached doesn't come loose? You certainly can't send
anyone in to set more charges. I have seen tall metal or wood
structures tied off to direct the fall, like felling a tree, but never
anything that could disintegrate.
In crowded areas, they sometimes take brick smokestacks down by hand,
since there is no good way to ensure where they are going to drop. There
used to be a tall stack behind the 108 year old building I work in, for
the coal furnace they used to have. They took it down a course at a time.
Demo's obviously tricky business. I saw a great little snippet on TV of
guys who were felling a very large tree. All that was left was the trunk,
some 25' worth by at least 2' around. It was so well tied to other nearby
trees that when the final cut at the base was made, the tree bounced UP, and
then down again several times, like a giant pogo stick, smashing a nearby
shed to pieces in seconds and sending the crew running for their lives as
this huge, massive tree trunk bobbed up and down, moving a couple of yards
with each "stroke."
As others have noted, although the stack looks stable, I'll bet a) there
wasn't much to tie to, and b) as you note, with an old brick structure with
bad mortar, crumbling is pretty hard to control. I recall watching video
of a stadium demolition where they had underestimated the size and power of
the debris cloud. You see the stadium collapse, and then, a few seconds
later you hear screaming as a huge black cloud of dust moving *very* quickly
enveloped the cameraman and all those standing next to him.
Same way you ties off anything. A big assed cable around it secured to the
ground, a tank, another building.
Even if you only have
It may not make it fall in the intended direction, but it can help keep it
away from unintended consequences, like the power lines. They could have
gotten it inside of a 220 degree (or so) arc and had a miss.
Did the guys climb up those narrow wood ladders tied together? That is how
they did some work on the stack in our building, about 120 feet or so. Took
down the top courses and re-built it. Scary just to watch them climb.
Have any of you idiots read that this stack is 300 feet??? You
would be pretty hard pressed to get a rope, chain, or cable that
long. You'd play billy hell getting up on that stack. What on
earth would you pull it with that would have a chance of
Keep the whole world singing . . .
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