Controlled Demolition Inc. based in Phoenix, Maryland, has been associated with some of the most challenging building implosions in history. From notorious to notable structures, each demolition is unique, presenting their team with challenges ranging from the structural, explosive, and bureaucratic.
In one of their most daring demolition projects to date, the team descends on Las Vegas to bring down the historic Frontier Hotel and Casino landmark. The building, a vintage Vegas structure, was the second hotel to be built on the strip. It hosted some of the most notable performers of its time, including Elvis, the Supremes, and Siegfried and Roy. Recently, the hotel was purchased for a massive 1.2 billion dollars and is now being imploded to make way for the reconstruction of New York’s Plaza Hotel.
However, this demolition project is unlike any other. In most cities, a building implosion is just that – the demolition of a building. But, anything that happens in Vegas is part of a grander spectacle, so not only is the demolition team taking down the building, but they are working around more than 1,600 kg of fireworks and pyrotechnics that will be used in the pre-demo show.
Despite its diminutive size, the team expects to utilize over 1,000 kg of dynamite, which is more than they used to bring down the 32-story Stardust hotel earlier in the year. The team is challenged by a lack of accurate blueprints and an unprecedented concentration of rebar that threatens the entire operation.
As they begin to drill the holes to place the dynamite, massive amounts of rebar are uncovered, preventing proper placement. To add further complications, they come across toxic asbestos within the building walls. With just days to go before the implosion, CDI rethinks the demo plan and decides to attack the structure by pre-weakening it. Heavy-duty drills and skid-steers equipped with jack-hammers cut the support walls.
They plan an innovative technique using cables to ensure the building falls in the desired direction. The cables are wrapped around one end of the structure and attached to the elevator shaft inside the hotel, pulling the wall away from the neighboring roadway and into the fall zone.
The implosion is set for 2:30 am, and the fireworks technicians warm up the Vegas crowd for the grand finale, turning the historical Frontier into a pile of rubble.
This monumental project is documented in a thrilling and insightful documentary that takes you behind the scenes, offering a glimpse into the world of controlled demolition. We highly recommend watching the documentary to gain a deeper appreciation of the skills and expertise required to execute a demolition project of this scale successfully.