Contractors Try and Fail to Demolish Pontiac Silverdome

December 4, 2017 Updated: December 4, 2017

Contractors tried—and failed—to demolish the Silverdome, the former home of the Detroit Lions, over the weekend.

According to video footage of the demolition attempt, a series of bright flashes and smoke could be seen around the Silverdome’s walls. But the stadium,located in Pontiac, Michigan, remained standing.

“Something happened with the cord that would have put off the shape charges, which never went,” said Rick Cuppetilli, vice president with the Michigan-based demolition company Adamo Group, ABC News reported. Adamo Group was awarded the demolition contract, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“There’s wires separated somewhere,” he told the newspaper. “We’ve researched it, we haven’t found it yet, we’re going to continue research, but it’s not coming down today.”

He said that explosives set in key locations around the upper levels didn’t go off as planned due to a “wiring issue.”

Until the Silverdome is demolished, security will be on site all day and night, local broadcaster WXYZ reported.

“There were people trespassing on Friday and taking pictures of the stadium and our security and police noticed them and saw their flashlights and chased them out,” Cuppetilli told ABC. No arrests were made, but Cuppetilli suggested that the trespassers may have made the cords unstable.

“Could they have stepped on a cord and smashed it internally and it didn’t show up? We’re not sure,” Cuppetilli asked.

His firm demolished the Georgia Dome in March 2017.

“The Georgia Dome was a complete implosion that went off with 4,800 pounds of dynamite,” Cuppetilli said. “We had months to plan that. The Silverdome was a ceremonial blast and we used only 300 pounds of dynamite and had only three days to prep it.”

The stadium, which can house 82,000 people, was home to the Lions from 1975 until 2001 as well as the Detroit Pistons from 1978 until 1988. A number of huge concerts and events—including a Led Zeppelin performance in 1977 as well as Pope John Paul II’s mass in 1987—were held there.

The Lions have played at Ford Field since it was opened in 2002.

“We used to come to a lot of the games, we were here for the first opener of the Silverdome,” local Chuck Markel told the Oakland Press. “It’s sad because it’s a landmark,” Sandi Markel said. “We used to go to the seasons at Tiger Stadium, so this place was godsend for us because we were indoors.”

“I’m going to miss it, I had some great memories here, when the Pope came here, when the Super Bowl turned this downtown into New Orleans, a lot of good experiences. I was a season ticket holder here since day one, we had some great games here,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

According to the Oakland Press, the stadium was sold for $583,000 in November 2009 to Toronto-based Triple Investment Group.


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