Key to City Hall demolition is keeping away from railroad

POSTED: 06:08 PM MDT Mar 18, 2013    UPDATED: 04:37 PM MDT Apr 10, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

     New information on the El Paso City Hall demolition.

     ABC-7 spoke with the man hired to perform the implosion at approximately 9 a.m. on April 14, when several loud explosions will come from City Hall. In a matter of seconds, the building is expected to come tumbling to the ground to make way for the new Downtown Ballpark.

     "It's going to be spectacular for the people there in town," said Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolitions Inc., out of Phoenix, Maryland, a company which has taken down about 8,000 structures over the past 60 years. "We have done all of the implosions, all of them, in Las Vegas, from the Stardust to the Landmark Towers."

     In just 27 days, CDI and Loizeaux will be responsible for bringing down El Paso's City Hall, a structure he calls "strong and robust."

     "The unique structural consideration with the building is the four corners," he said. "They have curved share walls that make reinforced concrete corners that provide the stiffening in the structure and as a result it doesn't have a poured concrete central elevator core like a lot of structures do."

     Loizeauz said the key to bringing the building down is to keep it away from the railroad tracks. He said in order to do that the first blast will take place on the northeast corner of the building so it doesn't fall toward the railroad tracks.

     "It will start on the northeast corner and work back progressively on an angle and then flatten out so that the southern end of the structure, which is closest to the railroad right of way, will be inclined inward," said Loizeaux, who expects the building to fall almost straight down. "I would say 95 percent of the debris will fall within the existing footprint of the building, but some material will sluff off a little bit to the east into the parking lot area."

     He said if all goes as planned, there should be a pile of debris no more than 15 to 20 feet high above the Durango Street elevation.

     "The building is going to be down in a matter of seconds and it's all over," he said. "Grant Mackay will move to clean up the dust, open up the streets and everything will get back to normal."

     Loizeaux said although the building is "strong and robust," it won't take any more explosives than most to bring down. In fact, he said two men could carry in their arms the amount of explosives needed to drop the building. He added that the explosions won't be any louder than a 4th of July fireworks show, requiring people to be only about 1,500 feet back from the building.