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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Smokestack fall an Internet hit

No injuries when demolition goes awry

Spectators run for safety as the former Ohio Edison Mad River Power Plant’s 275-foot smokestack in Springfield, Ohio, falls  Wednesday during its demolition.  (Associated Press)
Spectators run for safety as the former Ohio Edison Mad River Power Plant’s 275-foot smokestack in Springfield, Ohio, falls Wednesday during its demolition. (Associated Press)
By Staff And Wire Reports

A Coeur d’Alene demolition company that once was featured in a TLC series is again in the spotlight, as videos of a dramatic demolition debacle circle the Internet and news outlets around the nation.

Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc., owned by Eric and Lisa Kelly, was featured in a six-part TLC documentary called “The Imploders,” in 2009. The show followed the Kellys as they traveled America to demolish buildings with their children in tow.

This time, they would probably rather not be in the spotlight.

AED was overseeing the demolition of a nearly 300-foot smokestack in Ohio that toppled in the wrong direction Wednesday and sent spectators scrambling, knocked down power lines and crashed into a nearby building.

The smokestack fell southeast – instead of east, as planned – moments after the explosives were detonated, the Associated Press reported. No injuries were reported after the tower at the Mad River Power Plant came crashing down and knocked out two 12,500-volt power lines on the way.

The live, sparking power lines sent a crowd of media members, FirstEnergy Corp. employees, and demolition crews and their family members scattering, the Dayton Daily News reported.

“It’s property damage and it’s not life,” AED President Lisa Kelly said. “That’s the most important thing – that no one was injured.”

She also said “cleanup will be handled efficiently.”

According to the AP, officials estimated about 4,000 people in the Springfield, Ohio, area lost power.

As of Thursday night, various video clips of the demolition had been viewed more than 65,500 times on YouTube. It was featured on failblog.org and many other websites, and numerous TV news shows.

Eric Kelly, AED vice president and chief blaster, has been working in demolition since 1980. According to the AED website, he has broken several world records, including the record for the largest building ever successfully imploded, while maintaining a “Perfect Safety Record of no accidents in 27 years.”

Lisa Kelly has managed “several major corporations” in her career, the AED website says.

She told the Springfield News-Sun the explosives were detonated correctly but an undetected crack on the south side of the tower pulled it in the wrong direction.

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