Mark Frauenfelder at 8:04 am Thu, Nov 11, 2010
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
At first I thought the people in the video were being overcautious when they started to run away. The tower seemed too far away to hurt them. But keep watching.
275-foot tower in Ohio blasted for demolition falls in wrong direction
So where’s the story on how, exactly, they determined that it was an “undetected crack?” “This looks like it was from an undetected crack. I can tell from some of the pebbles and from seeing quite a few undetected cracks in my time.”
In this case the “undetected crack” was what the guy who planned the demolition had been smoking at the time.
Not the first explosive demolition to go wrong, of course. Some folks underestimate the complexity of the task and misdesign the pattern of charges, and sometimes the stress and reinforcement just aren’t where they were expected.
Good job spotting that the wires were at risk when it *did* go wrong, and getting folks clear. That could have been nasty.
Once you’ve watched the vid, go to the link and look at the still photos. It looks like there’s not much around the tower in the vid, the stills tell a different story.
I’d have run like hell,too.
Luckily no one was hurt. It must have been hard explaining to the 8000 people why they lost power that day.
The file should be called ….stackfail…
They brought their kids along to see the ‘splosion?
Looks like the smokestack is (was) here in Google Earth:
39 55.448 N 83 51.024 W
and they were standing here: 39 55.47 N 83 50.86 W
you can see the green tanks, and the shadows of the pylons just east.
god bless google maps :D
I’m glad the camera man hung in long enough to pan left at the last second.
Also: that little girl shows way better instincts than the grown ups around her.
See Britain’s “Last Victorian”, Fred Dibnah, bring down a massive brick chimney the old-fashioned way, with fire, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L1WOnR2KBY . The collapse itself is at 7:25 – with him standing about 15 feet from the bottom (impossible with explosions) – followed by a horde of kids running up to congratulate him.
His way was appropriate as it allowed the chimney a last hurrah, belching smoke as part of its own demise. He took away bricks from the bottom of one side of the chimney, propping it up with wooden supports; when it was time to bring the thing down he would light a bonfire and burn away the supports… so the direction-finding was pretty accurate.
Discovered by TV as a steeplejack fixing Bolton Town Hall in a local news item, Fred Dibnah became a national telly presenter on subjects like steam engines, the Industrial Revolution and the construction of cathedrals.
Thanks for that, Narmitaj. So glad to have found out about him now.
unbelievable. all you naive, gullible boingers….can’t anyone see this is a blatant hoax? where are the inch-by-inch forensic breakdowns of the video pointing out the camera tricks and cgi overlays? where are the wild motives and conspiracy theories about the intent of the video producers? very disappointed.
c’mon people – an 8 yr old in a hard hat blowing up a 275 ft smokestack? really?? take the bait!!
Yeesh. And it’s made a LOT scarier by the fact that children were there too!
That was all kinds of awesome.
props to the camera guy. talk about balls of steel with electrified power lines whipping around…
I’m not a professional pixel-detector, but I have a couple guesses based on some demolition and explosives experience. The cause was almost definitely not “an undetected crack” but poor blast design. A popular method of taking down large smokestacks directionally like this is the wedge method; imagine a lumberjack cutting out a large wedge from a tree, then following up with a smaller wedge opposite the larger, causing the trunk to weaken and then fall toward the large opening. This can work if done correctly, but requires a good understanding of the materials and their residual strength.
The second part of the 2-part blast you see was meant to cut the support and use it as a pivot point for the whole stack to fall toward the wedge, but too little was left after the wedge cut (you can see the entire stack “sit down” 5-10 feet rather than tip). Of course now that the wedge is crushed out, you have a compromised tower than can fall in any direction, or even stay standing indefinitely.
This is basic demolition blast design, and Advanced Explosive Demolition should be very embarrassed, no wonder “The Imploders” was canceled. Check out “The Detonators” on the Discovery Channel, episode 4 shows how a chimney blast is really done.
Love the meticulous countdown. Gives the impression that everything was oh so thoroughly planned and thought through.
You’re right. I’m sure they did this on a whim.
You can get chopped in half by a flailing low-voltage cable just as well as a high-voltage one, so they needed to GTFO, but it seemed like they were unnecessarily concerned about the cables after they fell.
To me, they look like telegraph poles with no insulation, rather than insulated power pylons. Though ring voltage can be as dangerous as mains, and the wire’s unlikely to be insulated, it’s not HT, so not going to be going to be a serious danger unless you grab the wire, is it?
Looks like “Street Voltage” (The voltage at which electricity is stepped down to for the lines that run on power poles or under the street.) This is usually at 12,4500 or 13,700 volts (hence the dramatic blue flashes as the tower hits them). Now it’s likely they are dead by being tripped out, but if they are still hot they can easily kill you. Same reason cops are always telling you never to get near downed power lines after a storm.
Cooks Source stikes again!
Springfield, Springfield, it’s a hell of a town!
“The explosives detonated correctly, but an undetected crack on south side of the tower pulled it backward, said Lisa Kelly, president/owner of Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc.”
Apparently they travel around the country with their children, blowing stuff up.
Wow. Greatest/worst parents EVER.
Sorry about replying to myself….meant to post link to video from different angle.
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