Gone in seconds

Short show for those watching demolition of cooling towers


It took only a few seconds for two of the area’s largest skyline landmarks to crumple and disintegrate before the eyes of well over a hundred spectators at Conimicut Point Saturday morning. Thousands more curious onlookers across New England scoured for good vantage points as the 8 a.m. implosion time for the Brayton Point Power Station cooling towers drew near.

The 500-foot towers, located in Somerset, Mass., were visible from Chapel Hill in Cranston and all the way to Newport, as well as throughout southern Massachusetts. They were constructed just six years ago as the finishing touch to the Brayton Point Power Station, which is now closed, at a cost of around $600 million.

If you yawned or looked towards the sun, which suddenly broke through the gray din of Saturday morning’s clouds right as the demolition time hit, you would have missed it. Without much in the way of a warning – some onlookers said they heard a sort of warning bell go off in the distance, others heard nothing – the large cylinders buckled inwards and silently collapsed in on themselves, leaving only a rapidly ascending plume of dust and smoke that rose in the backdrop of Conimicut Light.

Many had set up large-lensed cameras on tripods to capture the moment. Others strained eyes into large binoculars. Some held up cell phones to capture video, and more simply watched with their naked eyes to see the show. One cameraman lamented his inability to get a good shot due to the uneven light metering that resulted from the sun breaking free at the moment of truth – causing the waters to shine and drown out the towers, which resided squarely underneath a gray blanket of clouds in the distance.

“The sun came out at exactly the wrong time,” he said, sadly.

For others, capturing the moment was less important than the meaning behind the towers coming down. Now that the power station, which was a coal-fired plant, has closed, the parcel’s ownership is reportedly planning to erect a facility that will produce materials for the wind industry.

“I’m glad that it’s gone,” rejoiced Seekonk, Mass. resident Irene Zawadowicz after the demolition. “That’s enough with the fossil fuels. I want to see something less harmful to the Earth. I got 10 grandchildren and I want them to be able to breath.”

It has been reported that the towers broke a world record for the tallest cooling towers to ever be demolished by controlled demolitions.


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Glad they are no longer ruining the view of Conimicut light.

Tuesday, April 30