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Pontiac Silverdome implosion fail: What went wrong and what happens now?

Contractors blame cut wire

PONTIAC, Mich. – The Pontiac Silverdome is supposed to look a lot different than it did a day ago. 

A series of scheduled detonations Sunday morning at the stadium were supposed to break the metal beams that support the upper ring of the stadium and a 20-foot steel band that supported the equipment that was used to keep the roof inflated.

Each vertical beam surrounding the Silverdome housed a small charge, which upon detonation were supposed to cause the beams to break and the steel ring to fall to the ground.

That didn't happen. 

Watch the video above.

What went wrong

The detonations went off as planned, but nothing fell and the implosion was a failure. The crowd who gathered to see a portion of the stadium come down on a brisk Sunday morning was left wondering what happened. The demolition company explained it obviously did not go according to plan. 

"What went wrong is a wire somewhere was cut and we don't why or how," said Rick Cuppetilli, vice president of Adamo Group demolition company. 

What happens now

Some of the columns inside the structure were detonated but the main columns that would bring parts of the Silverdome down did not detonate. The blast did weaken the Silverdome, and part of the structure could still fall, but it's not known when or if that might happen.

The demolition company now will decide whether to bring the columns down by detonating the unexploded charges or use excavators. 

A timetable for when that might happen is not known. 

History of the Pontiac Silverdome

The Pontiac Silverdome was the former home of the Detroit Lions (1975-2001), the Detroit Pistons (1978-1988) and the North American Soccer League's Detroit Express (1978-1980).

During its time in operation the venue also hosted the NCAA Cherry Bowl (1984-85), WrestleMania III (1987) and a Led Zepplin rock concert (1977).

The stadium also hosted a record crowd of nearly 93,000 in September 1987, when a mass was celebrated by Pope John Paul II.


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