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Oops. Thought it was going east.

November 11, 2010 - Paul Giannamore
Exactly two years ago at the beginning of the month, I had the honor of standing alongside northbound state Route 7 in the predawn chill with a bunch of folks who became my friends for an hour or two. Our purpose for being on the berm of the highway: The demolition of the Toronto Edison power plant's smokestack. The 650-foot concrete and steel tower had looked over the city of Toronto's north end for most of the 20th century, so the demolition was going to change the landscape considerably. The power plant had been taken out of service in 1993 and was being torn down. I recall those of us on the side of the road sipping our coffee in the dark thinking that if the stack fell the wrong way, it would hit a set of high-tension electric lines that run from the old power plant over state Route 7. The line may have been decommissioned too, but I didn't want to know the hard way. Anyway, the blast went off and I got some great photos and lots of compliments and that's that. Until I got to thinking about the situation on Wednesday. First Energy was doing a similar job on an old power plant near Springfield, Ohio. The stack at its Mad River power station was only 350 feet tall. And it was blasted. And it fell. The wrong way. Some homemade video on YouTube shows people scrambling and a lot of shouting. The AP photo clearly shows the stack mashing into some buildings. There were a couple of 12,000-volt power lines that were felled. Nobody was hurt, the AP reported, but power was out for about 4,000 customers. The debris stayed on First Energy property. Glad I wasn't there. Something about outrunning a falling concrete tower that just seems all too biblical to me.


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An AP photo of the Mad River power station stack falling onto a building Wednesday, near Springfield, Ohio.


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