Landmark tower goes down in smoke!

January 22, 2008 2:45:50 PM PST
A New Jersey landmark went up in smoke on Tuesday. But first, it had to come down. It's hard to see it go.

For as long as most people can remember, the 200-foot tall smokestack at the old AFG Glass Company on River Road in Cinnaminson has been a local landmark. But that all came to an end Tuesday afternoon when the tower of bricks and mortar came tumbling down.

Cinnaminson resident Phil Berr says, "It was fantastic. When it came up and just the way it went so slow down, the slow motion, it was just awesome, that's all."

Paul Cole had a similar reaction. He tells us, "It was amazing, absolutely amazing. A lot of fun to watch. A lot of memories went down with that building as well."

It took 30 pounds of dynamite and 72 blasting caps embedded in the walls to bring the smokestack down in a matter of seconds. The explosion had to be strategically timed so it wouldn't interrupt light rail service, since the tracks run right by the smokestack. Sensors were set up and police cleared everyone out of a 500 foot perimeter around the blast site.

John Peterson, the former engineering manager at the plant, traveled all the way from Tennessee to watch and grabbed a souvenir or 2. "12 years of my life and have it end like this - it's depressing," said Peterson.

Taking down the smokestack brings a symbolic end to the focus on heavy industry that used to thrive here. Local officials are looking to focus now on light manufacturing.

Mayor William Ben Young says the purpose of the demolition was, "to have warehouse, light manufacturing and distribution, which will allow a much better diversification of jobs."

The smokestack was built in 1973. Now, it's just a pile of bricks, and bulldozers are already clearing away the debris to make way for the future.