Most of Lakeland heard a short series of loud booms at 8:02 a.m. today as controlled explosions brought down two giant structures at Lakeland Electric’s shuttered McIntosh 3 coal-fueled power plant.

The first series of blasts felled a 260-foot smoke stack. A second series brought down a 90-foot selective catalytic reduction unit.

 Total Wrecking & Environmental of Buffalo, N.Y., conducted the implosion, capping six months’ work so far in demolishing and removing McIntosh units 1, 2 and 3 to make way for a reciprocal engine natural-gas plant that represents Lakeland Electric’s next generation of power generation.

In this video provided by Total Wrecking & Environmental, the preparations are shown starting at 1:20 and footage of today’s implosion starts at 1:30:

Around 100 city officials and invited guests stood in 38-degree weather to watch the implosion from an observation area 600 feet from the power plant. East Lake Parker Drive and a portion of Lake Parker were closed for about two hours.

The demolition and removal work could last another year. A second implosion is scheduled for sometime in March.

The demolition company says it has had to take extra care during site preparations because of keeping the area clear for ongoing Lakeland Electric operations and keeping roadways open.

McIntosh 3, the utility’s last coal-fired plant, was shut down in 2021 after repairs at the site became costly and Lakeland Electric sought to rid its coal reserves.

Total Wrecking & Environmental was chosen by the city to demolish the three plants and then sell parts and scrap metal; the city of Lakeland expects to net $1.2 million from its share of the sales.

The 90-foot stack comes down following the first set of explosions | Total Wrecking & Environmental

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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