Pillowtex Demolition Ranks Among Largest Implosions

Wed April 12, 2006 - Southeast Edition

KANNAPOLIS, NC (AP) In less than half a minute, two former Pillowtex textile plants covering more than 1 million sq. ft. crashed to the ground March 24 in a cloud of dust to make way for a new biotechnology hub.

Several hundred cheering onlookers watched from a safe distance as 4,000 lbs. of dynamite were set off just after 7 a.m. to implode the buildings. Soon, construction will begin there on the $1-billion North Carolina Research Campus.

“It’s exciting,” Project Manager Lynne Scott Safrit said moments after the buildings were leveled. “I can’t wait to see the landscape, because the walls have been a part of the landscape for years.”

Although the two mills were not among the tallest buildings that have been imploded, they rank among the largest, said David Griffin of D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co., which handled the implosion.

The 40-year-old buildings were “built like a fort,” he said.

Two massive smokestacks bearing the name of Pillowtex predecessor company, Fieldcrest Cannon, will be taken down this summer, Griffin said.

After the implosion, local residents with respiratory problems were advised to stay inside, and homes and businesses near the site were instructed to turn off their heating and air conditioning systems until the dust from the blast cleared, officials said.