Implosion reduces Las Vegas hotel to rubble … almost

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – The Clarion casino-hotel was imploded early Tuesday in Las Vegas, reduced to rubble to make way for a new hotel tower.

But the 12-story, 200-room structure, which opened in 1970 as the Royal Inn, didn’t go down cleanly. The implosion was delayed by about half an hour because of bystanders who wouldn’t get out of the way, and an elevator shaft was left standing.

“Basically, the debris fell so fast, it choked the base of that tower and didn’t give it the opportunity to move,” said Thom Doud, project manager of Controlled Demolition Incorporated.

Located off the Las Vegas Strip, the Clarion was the 13th hotel in the city to be demolished by implosion.

The demolition company “said they had a perfect record since 1957 and looks like the Clarion … broke the streak,” said Clarion owner Lorenzo Doumani. “Number 13.”

In the end, demolition workers lassoed the balky elevator shaft with stout cables, brought in a heavy crane and pulled down the eight-story tower.

So ended the 13-hour saga of the 13th hotel implosion in Las Vegas since 1993.