Workers prepare for implosion of Genesee Towers - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Workers prepare for implosion of Genesee Towers

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GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) -

(12/20/13) - Workers have been busy Friday, making sure all is ready for the Sunday morning implosion of Genesee Towers in Flint.

By 8:30 Sunday morning, downtown Flint should resemble a ghost town. At 9:55, the chief demolition manager, Steve Pettigrew, will sound three blasts on a siren.

"That's our five minute mark. At that time nobody will be inside the perimeter other than Steve and some designated rovers," said Dave Lurvey, implosion project manager.

One minute before the blast, there will be another siren.

"Steve on a loudspeaker will give us a 10 second countdown to the implosion moment," Lurvey said.

Over a six second period, Genesee Towers should pancake on itself.

"You have a dust cloud that comes up from the implosion. The first people in will be the implosion engineers and Consumers gas and electric," Lurvey said.

Weather should not be a factor.

"There's a lot of advantage to rain. Keeps the dust down," Pettigrew said.

The implosion should create a pile of rubble about 40 feet tall that will weigh about 30,000 tons. It will take nearly 1,000 truckloads to haul it all away.

"Harrison Street will have activity, more likely just trucking activity that the public will notice coming in and out of gates all the way through early spring," Lurvey said.

Pettigrew is highly confident the demolition will be successful. It's not the most difficult project he's taken on, even though the Mott Foundation Building is only a few feet away.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say a 6 or a 7," he said. "Believe it or not, I shot a 150 foot, 15-story building six inches away from the Martin Luther King Viaduct that wrapped right around the building.

Pettigrew has been in the implosion business for nearly 40 years and has traveled throughout the world, knocking down buildings for a living. He is one of the most respected experts in the field of building implosions.

"I probably never met somebody so detailed and fascinating whenever I talk to someone about what he does for a living," Lurvey said.

Pettigrew is based in Florida, but travels across the globe to implode buildings.

"I've worked in Korea, Australia, England, France, a lot of Canada jobs," he said.

His work isn't just confined to skyscrapers.

"Three major stadiums, Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Cynergy Field in Cincinnati, Fulton County Stadium. I shot 16 18-story buildings in Paris and the list goes on," he said.

He says imploding a building never loses its thrill.

"You want it to be a little scary. If it wasn't, you're not human. I'm very confident we'll have a very successful shot," he said.

The implosion is set for Sunday morning at 10. You can watch it live on ABC12 or ABC12.com.

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