Smokestacks Tumble

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Monday, June 20, 2011 - 1:48pm

Two 300 foot tall power plant smokestacks are imploded.

After providing power to South Florida for nearly 50 years, Florida Power and Light's power plant in Riviera Beach is no more.

Demolition crews imploded the oil-burning plant at 8:30 Sunday morning, clearing the way for a new, natural gas facility.

People watched by boat, standing on the shores of Peanut Island and on the mainland in Palm Beach County as Riviera Beach's skyline changed before their eyes.

In a matter of seconds, Florida Power and Light's dynamite-loaded power plant crumbled to the ground.

"It was amazing," said ten year old Arianna Malaret. "It was really loud and really cool."

Arianna spent Father's Day seeing the plant's 300 foot stacks come down with her dad, Steven Malaret.

"I saw buildings going down," she said. "I saw "boom," "boom," and it was really loud. I had to close my ears because it was really loud."

The blast sounded like a clap of thunder, shaking nearby buildings and sending up a large cloud of dust. Minutes after the implosion, the dust cloud was already dissipating.

Demolition crews worked for months to prepare for the implosion and minimize its impact.

Steel, metal and concrete, dismantled from the plant over the last few months, cushioned the fall for the rest of the structure.

In its place, FPL is building a new, $1 billion facility.

It is expected to bring about 650 construction jobs to the area.

The company says the plant will also help the economy by saving customers money.

"It's going to be a lot more efficient," said FP&L Spokesman Neil Nissan, "using 33% less fuel and that's going to translate into millions of dollars in fuel savings for our customers over the life of the plant."

Replacing the plant will also bring in additional property tax revenue.

Riviera Beach Commissioner Judy Davis said it will help with the city's redevelopment.

"In about three years, the city will see an increase of approximately somewhere between $8 million to $9 million in additional revenue," she said. "That's a lot of money that we can use."

It's all good news for families, like Arianna's, but right now, she's more excited about a souvenir from the old plant: a piece from one of its stacks.

"I'm going to put this in my room!" she said, excitedly.

According to FP&L, the new plant should be operational by 2014.

It will provide power to more than 250,000 homes and businesses.
 

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