A pair of 464-foot tall cooling towers in Jacksonville, Florida was imploded Saturday morning when New York-based, Total Wrecking & Environmental, LLC blew them to smithereens. 100,000 tons of concrete and 4,000 tons of steel went to ground in seconds at the St. Johns River Power Park when more than 1,500 pounds of dynamite and 12,000 feet of detonation cord, or det cord, went off as intended.
But, the spectacle wasn’t set off by a professional. Instead, a Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida man paid $6,000 for the right to have his 18-year-old son “push the button.”
“I hadn’t seen anything implode before,” onlooker Thomas Francese said. “It just kind of looked like a wet noodle fall over. It was kind of crazy to see something that big just fall over like that.”
Homeowners across the river said they felt their houses shake when the blast happened.
The towers are being demolished as co-owners Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) and Florida Power & Light prepare the plant for decommissioning and possible sale. The plant ceased the production of electricity in January.
“The towers are coming down as the first step in decommissioning the entire plant,” said Gina Kyle, a JEA spokeswoman. The towers were used to cool the water that was coming into the plant to produce energy, but they are no longer needed.
The cost to demolish the towers was reported to be $14.5 million.
The entire plant area will be remediated over the next 2 years leaving just a grassy field and the roads and railway remaining. The remediation is expected to cost about $90 million.