good results is rarely a matter of chance, as Protec
President Lisa Blanchard pointed out while preparing
to document the implosion of four 13-story public housing
units in Newark, New Jersey the following morning.
structural blasters face enormous pressures because
they consistently have only one chance to get everything
right," said Blanchard as her team arrived at the
Stella Wright Homes site. "To the same degree but
in a notably lower profile, the same can be said of
the work that our firm and other supporting subcontractors
perform. Everyone's efforts are meticulously timed to
the success of one button-push, and experience and dependability
are recognized as critical factors."
razing of 1960s-era public housing was familiar
territory for NADC-members Mazzocchi Wrecking Inc.
and Controlled Demolition Inc. (no relation to Controlled
Demolition Group-UK), both of whom possessed considerable
experience with similar projects. The scene in Newark
was also familiar to Protec, whose team had documented
all 37 high-rise building blasts in the city over
the past twelve years.
Mazzocchi Wrecking, the most significant facet of the
Stella project was the fact that most of the crew and
heavy demolition equipment had traveled straight across
the Hudson River from Ground Zero in New York City, where
the firm had spent the previous seven months working non-stop
under the most difficult conditions imaginable. This new
assignment would be rather straightforward by comparison,
so long as everyone could maintain concentration on the
task at hand.
this implosion project presented relatively few
unusual challenges for the various teams, Lisa Blanchard
elected to use the event to accelerate the training
of her newest photographers and field representatives.
explosive demolition industry worldwide experienced
a collective pause after September 11th," Blanchard
explained, "However, this method continues to prove
itself as the safest and most cost-effective way to
bring down certain types of structures, and the number
of demolition projects utilizing explosives have exceeded
pre-9/11 levels over the past few months. I consider
us fortunate that our workload has reached a point where
the training of additional field representatives has
become a priority."
Blanchard and her team installed equipment and educated
their trainees, Controlled Demolition and Mazzocchi
Wrecking personnel, working under the guidance and supervision
of company President Grace Mazzocchi, were busy putting
the finishing touches on demolition preparations. The
team used a combination of heavy geotextile fabric,
plastic covering and sheets of plywood to protect windows
and exterior facades of adjacent structures, which included
several homes and an historic church. Shortly thereafter,
a large contingent of local civic leaders and community
volunteers filed into a nearby VIP area, thrilled-to-a-person
that the buildings would soon be removed to make way
for more modern, family-friendly housing units.
the countdown reached zero, Mayor Sharpe James was
all too happy to push the Newark Housing Authority's
well-worn ceremonial plunger, and within seconds,
a forgettable chapter of the venerable city's past
gently melted into oblivion.
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