Vet Voices

Yorkville Smokestacks Demolished

Jefferson County

YORKVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) – Yorkville residents just watched the last structures of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh steel mill turn to rubble Wednesday morning.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Yorkville Mayor presses the detonator to bring down the Yorkville smokestacks

The controlled implosion lasted only a couple seconds and the dust barely reached Yorkville’s train tracks.

In a crowd of about 30 people, nerves were high. 

Some came to say goodbye to the last remnants of the steel era in this Ohio village; others watched to see if it would be done safely.

About two-dozen sticks of dynamite with blasting cord were strategically drilled into the base of each smokestack. 

The bang heard and felt of similar caliber to that of a gunshot, but obviously the effects were more powerful. 

Everything appears to be safe. These are smaller stacks than they’ve normally done. It’s going to go to an east direction. Being that they are brittle, they should come straight down on them. 

John Morelli, Yorkville Chief of Police

Both concrete stacks fell as they were intended with the dust barely reaching the crowd of people standing about 1,000 feet away from the implosion. 

“Every safety precaution was taken in a very great manner, and I appreciate that a lot.” 

Christopher Crouse, Yorkville resident

The smell of explosives lingered in the air. 

While everything went down safely, and to EPA code, residents still had mixed reactions as they watched the two stacks come down.

Some who had worked in the former mill say it was a somber occasion and said watching the smokestacks crumble was a symbol of an end to an era.

Bystander Rich Harris was a pipe fitter for 44 years at the Wheeling-Pitt steel mill.

“It’s sad, it really is sad. All the jobs that were there; over 2,000 at one time.” 

Richard Harris, former Wheeling-Pitt worker

However, some were filled with adrenaline and excitement for new industry to rebuild.

“I mean, it’s really sad to see it go because it’s been a part of our community for so many years, but I am excited to see what direction this town is going to go,” said Crouse.

The man pressing the detonator was none other than Yorkville’s Mayor Dana Brown. He tells 7NEWS the property is being cleared with the intent to repurpose for industrial and commercial business under the owners with Yorkville Intermodal. 

The mayor is excited for the future and hopes new business and local jobs come their way. 

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