P.L. Bartow Steam Power Plant smokestacks in St. Petersburg are demolished

1:01 PM, Feb 28, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Three smokestacks that have been a St. Petersburg landmark for more than 50 years were imploded Tuesday morning.

The P.L. Bartow Steam Power Plant smokestacks, each standing 300 feet tall, were demolished at 10 a.m. The implosion lasted about 10 seconds and brought the stacks down to the side, much like a tree falling.

Photos: P.L. Bartow Steam Power Plant Implosion

A noticeable rumble was felt and a low boom heard in the studios at 10 News, located about a quarter mile from the demolition site.

Demolition work had been underway at the Weedon Island plant back in June when a structure collapsed, killing a 65-year-old welder.

"Demolition work is inherently very dangerous and explosive demolition is dangerous as well," Progress Energy spokesperson Suzanne Grant told 10 News. "Back in June, the demolition was a different type. This is using explosives. That was a controlled collapse where they were weakening structures and pulling it down. It's really a different thing, but the safety is paramount as always."

Photo Gallery: Power plant collapse

The nearby Weedon Island Preserve was closed during the implosion, but reopened to the public at 10:30 a.m.

Progress Energy says the plant was replaced in June 2009 by a natural gas burning unit. The new units more than doubled the plant's electric output and produce less pollution.

"So this current plant operating on the site is much more efficient. It's less expensive for our customers to run, and it has 80 percent fewer emissions," Suzanne Grant added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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