Frisco plant imploded on second try

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by CYNTHIA VEGA & SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on July 1, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 2 at 10:17 AM

FRISCO - It came down two hours later than scheduled, but the towering Collin Power Plant in Frisco is no more following an implosion just before noon Friday.

What was once one of the largest power plants in Texas is now nothing but rubble. An estimated 30-pound of explosives sent the plant collapsing into itself in a matter of seconds.

The initial attempt scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday failed due to the extreme heat. Those on hand heard the countdown, two loud bangs and then a puff of smoke appeared, but no implosion. Two out of 14 explosives didn't go off on the first round. In order for the implosion to happen, every explosive must fire.

“Our only adversity here was the tremendous heat," said Eric Kelly "Boy, project engineer. "Boy, 101-102 degrees, it magnifies on the steal; it makes things melt and not work the way we like."

Kelly had to call in the Plano Bomb Squad for help on take two.

“You have extra help and extra eyes and ears because on the second shot it was a compromised structure,” he said.

Crews with Advanced Explosives loaded up more explosives along with what they call a "kicker" to jump-start the implosion that finally happened at 11:57 a.m.

“Even though we're right on the edge of it, we always have an exit plan,” Kelly said.

The 130-foot natural gas power plant has been a longtime landmark in Frisco, easily spotted by those who travel the nearby tollway.

The plant was built back in 1955, soon generating enough electricity to power nearly 77,000 North Texas homes before Luminant stopped operating the plant seven years ago. Newer more efficient plants came online, replacing the Collin Power Plant.

Advanced Explosives oversaw the implosion. Kelly said it's a dangerous situation, but after 30 years of imploding buildings, he said he is used to completing the job safely.

Most of the rubble remaining from the imploded plant will be recycled. Luminant says 85 percent of the steel, aluminum, copper and cement will be shipped around the world for reuse.

Still, there is no word on what will be built on the property next.

Email: cvega@wfaa.com

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