Let's Watch the 1982 Implosion of Buildings on Public Square That Left Everyone Covered in Dust and Soot


  • YouTube screenshot

If you think the infamous video of Cleveland's ill-fated attempt at releasing 1.5 million balloons is the best vintage gem on YouTube showing our proud citizens trying to enjoy something only to spectacularly screw it up, that means you haven't enjoyed this 1982 clip, captured by WEWS, of the implosion of the Cuyahoga and Williamson buildings on Public Square.

Urban building demolition videos? Always fun. This one? A bit different, because as the buildings come down and the clouds of dust begin to spread over Public Square people suddenly realize that authorities had not cordoned off the public far enough from the building. One moment there are cheers and claps as the two structures come roaring to the ground as the man who pushed the detonation button turns around to be admired and celebrated by the crowd. The very next moment the plume descends and everyone starts running. It's absolutely nutty, and scary, and the man-on-the-street videos in the aftermath are predictably jarring, both for the visuals and the carefree, even joyous, emotions expressed by folks who are absolutely covered in dust that could not have been great for their lungs.

One person left unscathed? The guy in charge of the demolition, who, looking fresh and dapper and clean in his interview, told a reporter he was A-okay because he knew to stand at a safe distance. This is information that apparently was not shared with anyone else.

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