Retired Conners Creek Power plant in Detroit demolished
Detroit — Most of the last remnantsof the former Conners Creek Power plant on the city's east side were demolished Friday.
The retired DTE Energy Co. electric plant was leveled with an explosive felling method. It crashed to the ground in a cloud of smoke and dust in a matter of seconds.
"It fell within five seconds," said Eric Younan, spokesman for the Detroit-based energy company. "That's what we expected. It happened as planned."
He said explosive charges on the building were set in such a way to make it fall in a certain direction rather than in an implosion, in which charges are set to make a structure fall in on itself.
"If you think about it as a three-legged stool and you want the stool to fall a certain way, you remove a leg to make it fall that way," he said. "That's kind of what we did today."
Younan said there was a lot of work done in advance to make Friday's action successful. He said no injuries were reported, and the company was assessing whether any nearby properties were damaged.
The coal-fired plant, which was decommissioned in 2008, sat on 40 acres at 100 Lycaste Street between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River.
Until its retirement, the plant operated in various configurations since 1915. By 1957, it employed more than 350 people and produced enough energy to power nearly 400,000 homes.
In 1996, the original plant and its seven identical 352-foot smokestacks known as the "Seven Sisters" were demolished. After that, two stacks built in the 1950s — the "Two Brothers" — remained standing.
Once the remains of the plant are cleared away, the land will be turned over to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to expand its Jefferson North Assembly Plant and convert its Mack Avenue Engine Complex to build new versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
DTE has exchanged the piece of property with the city of Detroit. The city is assembling about 215 acres for Fiat Chrysler's plant expansion.
In return, DTE will get other land throughout the city that the company will use to upgrade its electrical infrastructure. For example, the company plans to use some of the land for a new substation and other property to build a service center, Younan said.
DTE serves about 2.2 million electric customers across southeast Michigan and 1.2 million natural gas customers in the state.