Photo Courtesy of Andrew Craft
At 2,000 ft, an old communications tower in Elizabethtown, N.C., becomes tallest structure to be felled by explosives. The operation was done at no cost, and proceeds of the scrap metal will go to the Green Beret Foundation.

A demolition contractor imploded a 2,000-ft-tall structural-steel tower on Sept. 20 in Elizabethtown, N.C. The structure, the tallest in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, had been used as a Raycom Media communications tower but became obsolete in 2008 when television station WECT switched its broadcast to digital transmission from analog.

“It’s far and away the tallest tower ever taken down by explosives,” says Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolitions Inc. (CDI). The Phoenix, Md.-based contractor took the tower down pro bono. The implosion surpassed the firm's previous record by 500 ft, he says.

Raycom Media donated the 77-acre site to the Green Beret Foundation last year. The foundation recruited CDI and procured  equipment and volunteers to take the tower down at no cost.

“The proceeds of the scrap metal will go to the foundation,” says Jen Paquette, executive director of the Green Beret Foundation, San Antonio. “There was a lot more copper in the tower than we originally thought, so we should get a good price for the scrap metal. This sort of thing is how our foundation stays operational.”

“I think this will be the tallest structure I’ll take down in my lifetime,” says Loizeaux, who noted the structure ranks with several others as the seventh-tallest towers ever built. "I think they'll get well over $100,000 out of the scrap metal."

Watch the tower go down on CDI's video channel.