CHULA VISTA, Calif. Feb 2 Thousands of
spectators turned out along San Diego Bay on Saturday to watch
as demolition crews consigned an aging and decommissioned Dynegy
Inc power plant to the dustbin of history.
Forty rapid-fire blasts from strategically placed explosives
toppled the 165-foot structure, as onlookers cheered and shock
waves set off car alarms across a widespread area.
Most of the estimated 5,000 spectators gathered in Marina
View Park in Chula Vista, about 1,000-feet north of the plant,
for the early morning spectacle.
Often critized by environmentalists as an eyesore, the plant
was built in the late 1950s at the edge of an expanse of
wetlands adjacent to the bay.
Like other plants along the California Coast, it burned oil
when it was first fired up in 1960. It later converted to
natural gas, according to Laura Hunter of the Environmental
"This is a symbol of the past way of generating power which
we know now is not sustainable," Hunter said. "There's no better
symbol for what we're learning about how to live on this planet
than that where a power plant stood, a park and open space will
be built," she said.
It took several years of planning before officials could
move ahead with the final demolition of the plant, according to
Kristine Zortman, of the Unified Port of San Diego.
Apart from a slow-going permit process, the facility had to
be stripped of asbestos and metal that could be recycled.
Engineers also needed to weaken the structure to ensure that it
would fall easily, Zortman said.
The demolition crew placed 200 pounds of detonating
explosives and 300 pounds of dynamite throughout the structure.
Before the blasts, eight water cannons filled the air with mist
so dust would be trapped in condensation and fall to the ground,
The detonations sent shock waves as far as half a mile away
as the four towers toppled, leaving smokestacks sticking up at a
The city of Chula Vista has big plans for the site -
including a hotel and convention center, with an adjoining site
for campers and recreational vehicles, said Mayor Cheryl Cox.
"It wasn't always an ugly, useless object," Cox said. "It
employed thousands of good people and delivered important energy
to our communities. But it's good to see it go and make way for
the future of our bayfront."