Iconic B.L. England smokestack in South Jersey imploded

6abc Digital Staff Image
Thursday, October 26, 2023
Iconic B.L. England smokestack in South Jersey imploded
Iconic B.L. England smokestack in South Jersey imploded

UPPER TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- It took about 10 seconds for the smokestack that's been a Jersey shore landmark to fall to the ground.

"Called my sister on FaceTime, she lives local too, and we both watched it," said Diana Guaschino of Somers Point.

It's one of the final steps in demolishing the B.L. England Power Generating Station, which was decommissioned in 2019.

A general view of the B.L. England Generating Station, the last coal-powered plant in New Jersey, Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Upper Township.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The plant has been there since 1961, but the smokestack was added in 1986.

"I grew up in Beesleys Point," said Mayor Jay Newman, who is also the Marmora fire chief. "We always had the soot and the smoke and the smell from the plant for years, even before the smokestack was there. Bringing the smokestack down is a little bit nostalgic, but it's also a new beginning."

While no formal plans have been submitted, township officials and the developers hope to create a public space, potentially with a hotel, boardwalk and marina.

Part of the site will also be where a cable from Orsted's future offshore wind farm will connect to the power grid.

Marco Rivera and his coworkers from All Action Water Sports watched it on the water in a boat.

"We hopped on the boat and we just went out around 9:30 a.m., we still had 30 minutes left," he said. "It was crazy like all you hear was a big boom and it just came down, crashing. It was amazing."

Some onlookers were upset to see the tower come down.

"I'm kind of sad," said Carol Hoskins. "I hate to see it go, to be honest with you. It's part of the environment and it's part of the history of this area."

Others are relieved.

"It's nice to be able to look over there and not see this huge tower kind of blocking the view," said Guaschino.

Two metal structures remain at the site from the plant.

Officials say those will be torn down with equipment from the ground.

Chopper 6 was over the implosion of a former power plant in Cape May County, New Jersey.