MI Silverdome Implodes After Second Attempt


Michigan’s Pontiac Silverdome was a topic of discussion Monday morning (Dec. 4) after it failed to implode the day before—that is, a topic of discussion for everyone except the officials responsible for bringing the structure down.

The Detroit News reported that neither Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman nor demolition contractor Adamo Group talked about the failed implosion until they announced the second attempt—which was successful—30 minutes before showtime, just after 4 p.m.

What Happened on Sunday?

The blighted and dormant stadium that formerly housed Detroit teams was slated for the ceremonial destruction Sunday morning, and even though many bombs went off inside the structure, about 10 percent of the (crucial) explosives did not, officials say, causing the facility to remain standing.

The stadium’s owner, Triple Investment Group, had recently come to an agreement with the city of Pontiac to raze the site and redevelop. Adamo (which recently brought down the Georgia Dome) was tasked with the ceremonial implosion to send off the 42-year-old structure. The plan for Sunday was never supposed to be the full spectacle that happened in Georgia.

"This is going to anti-climactic," city official Jeff Bowdell, who was overseeing the demolition, told the Detroit News last week. "This isn't going to be like the Georgia Dome or the Hudson's building. That's not what's going to happen. That's not what's been approved."

“The Georgia Dome was a complete implosion hat went off with 4,800 pounds of dynamite,” added Adamo’s Executive Vice President Rick Cuppetilli. “We had months to plan that. The Silverdome was a ceremonial blast and we used only 300 pounds of dynamite and had only three days to prep it.”

Within those three days, security for the demolition company had to chase away tresspassers on the site, an incident that Cuppetilli supposes could have attributed to the reason for the implosion fail: a disconnected wire.

"We had a lot of difficulty getting people out of here the other night ... We don't know if someone accidentally pulled the wire off. We don't know, we're still researching that," Cuppetilli said.

On Sunday, a series of detonations were supposed to break the metal beams that support the upper portion of the 400,000-square-foot stadium. While some of the columns were detonated, the main beams that would have been responsible for bringing the top part of the structure down, were not.

Following the failed implosion, the Detroit Free Press spoke with Harry Arnold, the owner of Detroit Drone, who has filmed several demolitions.

Arnold spoke of how the implosions are hard for him to watch as he thinks of all the time that went into the design and construction of the structures.

“So much was put into building it and it just comes down. It’s like seeing years just crumble in seconds,” he said.  “It sounds like lobsters being put in a boiling pot, the steel lets out a high-pitched scream. … It's definitely sad."

What Happened on Monday?

After the first attempt, Adamo said that they were investigating to see if they could find where, in the miles of wire now in the building, the hiccup occurred.

Though it's not clear what the investigation revealed, the second attempt went off without a hitch late Monday afternoon. The top half of the building collapsed into a cloud of smoke taking a total of nine seconds to expose its inner shell.

The site will now undergo a year-long rehab. Cuppetilli told ABC News that the complete destruction will take six months.



Tagged categories: Building Envelope; Demolition; Explosions; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Steel

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