SPRINGDALE, Pa. — It was the last coal-fired power plant in Allegheny County before shutting down last year, but the smokestacks at the former Cheswick Power Plant came down this morning. A scheduled implosion of the two chimneys took place, with the eventual demolition of the entire site.
Crews chipped away at the surrounding buildings on Thursday, which will remain for now, but final preparations were underway to demolish the smokestacks.
The two chimneys — one 552 feet tall and the other 750 feet tall — were felled into the old coal yard to the north of the property. Crews told Channel 11 a utility pole fell during the implosion.
Springdale Borough police said there were no injuries reported but a limited area did experience a power outage after the implosion.
Officials told Channel 11 everything went according to plan, but a burst of air during impact caused some utility poles to come down, causing a transformer to explode.
As the dust settled, Channel 11 got a closer look at some of the damage.
“This was broken,” Max Mock said pointing to the window of his dentist’s office. “We had a piece of rubble come through; it was in our waiting room, some shattered glass.”
Mock was watching from a distance as the decades-old smokestacks across from his Pittsburgh Street office, Dr. David Mock Associates in General Dentistry came crashing down.
“When it was coming down, I actually said, ‘Huh, that’s going right toward the office,” said Mock.
The blast from the implosion was so powerful, demolition crews said it took out some power lines, shook homes and sent dust and debris flying.
A chunk from one of the smokestacks hit Nick Madoni’s windowsill and landed in his yard across the street.
“We got a little piece of the larger stack, the 750-foot one. It’s pretty cool,” said Madoni of Springdale. “Put a date on it, have a nice little talking piece.”
Cars and roofs were covered in dirt and fiberglass.
The cleanup took crews several hours, but for Madoni’s property, he said the mess was cleared in about 45 minutes.
“They had six guys come up, blow everything down to the street, and they did a street cleaning, and it’s like it didn’t even happen,” Madoni said. “It’s amazing because this was all covered. You really couldn’t even see the sidewalk.”
Some neighbors and business owners said they’re a little sad to see the chimneys gone but are now looking ahead.
“I’ve grown up here my whole life. I was used to seeing them, so it is weird seeing a blank sky now,” Mock said. “I think for the most part we’re glad they’re down. It would become an eyesore and maybe we can do something with the space now instead of just leaving it vacant, so, [I’m] excited to see what the future holds.”
As far as future plans are concerned, the plant’s VP of Operations Scott Reschly, told Channel 11 News, plans for the site are still up in the air, adding that Charah Solutions will redevelop the land for some sort of industrial use.
There is no word yet on exactly how many homes or properties were damaged. Meantime, the company said subcontractors were assessing properties for damages that the plant does plan on paying for. Reschly said if you have damage from the implosion, contact Charah Solutions on the website’s “contact” section.
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