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Bayonet Breaker Helps With Forest Fire Aftermath

Wed December 28, 2011 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Labor Day of 2011 proved to be devastating for families in Bastrop County, Texas. The entire state was in the midst of one of the longest droughts on record and it only got worse when a series of tragic forest fires took place, burning for over 3 weeks, killing two people and destroying more than 1,600 homes.

The U.S. and Texas Forestry Service, local fire departments and volunteer fire fighters came from as far as Alaska to help try and control the blaze. The main objective was to control the spread of the 33,000-acre fire to prevent further damage, while being forced to let the already burning homes to smolder.

Since the homes were left to burn themselves out, the concrete foundations were simply cooked. As concrete experiences extreme heat for any real length of time, the structural integrity is destroyed, rendering the foundations useless.

In order to remove the ruined foundations, demolition contractors flooded Bastrop County to remove the tons of destroyed concrete and clear the way for the pouring of new foundations and the start of new home construction.

One of these contractors, Ronnie Wann of Wannco Demolition & Clean-up from Granbury, Texas, was in the thick of the project from the beginning. When he arrived in Bastrop County on Sept. 14, the fires were still burning.

Wann had spoken with Corky Underwood, the inventor of the Bayonet Breaker. Underwood delivered the “Corporal” breaker attached to a New Holland 130 excavator so Wann could soon put it to use.

After its arrival, demonstration showed how the excavator bucket is curled back onto the stick and the Bayonet Breaker lowers and locks into position protecting the hinge pin when the hydraulic hammer is needed.

“I liked what I saw in the Bayonet Breaker and realized that I would only need one machine instead of one with a bucket and one with a hydraulic hammer.” said Wann. “The Bayonet Breaker also eliminated the need for a quick disconnect system and I never have to leave the cab when changing tools.”

The process of removing foundations entails breaking up the concrete with a hammer and then using the bucket to stockpile material until Wann’s Bobcat loader can load it for removal. As noted by Wann, the hinge pin comes with a built-in jaw that assists in crushing some of the stone.

“I decided to lease the Bayonet and I am most pleased with my decision. The only maintenance I have had to perform is greasing the pivot joint and I must say that it is built to really last,” said Wann. “There is so much work in Bastrop County that it should go on for at least another year and considering the performance of the Bayonet Breaker/New Holland 130, I am in the process of an out-right purchase of the unit.”

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