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Crowds watch blasts bring down Evansville’s tallest building

November 22, 2021 GMT

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Hundreds of onlookers gathered in Evansville to watch as a series of blasts brought down an 18-story office tower that had been the southwest Indiana city’s tallest building for than a half-century.

Crowds watching from a safe distance cheered Sunday morning as a cloud of smoke enveloped part of downtown Evansville after a rapid series of blasts collapsed the 420 Main Building in less than a half-minute, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The office tower had housed Old National Bank’s headquarters from 1970 to 2004. But after the bank moved out, the tower’s occupancy dropped, its condition deteriorated, and efforts to rehabilitate it failed.

Neil Chapman’s law firm was the building’s last tenant. He hosted a party Sunday morning to watch the implosion from his new office in the Fifth Third Center, which at 15 stories is now the city’s tallest structure.

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“This was a man-made structure, 18 stories tall, and to see it come down suddenly and violently within seconds is amazing. It brings out your inner 8-year-old,” Chapman said.

Contractors said that most of the 18,000 tons of rubble left will be crushed and reused in the site’s redevelopment.

The implosion makes way for a planned retail and apartment development that will top out at four stories. Property owner Domo is leading that endeavor, which is being called Fifth & Main.

Evansville is located along the Ohio River about 175 miles (282 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis.