Sugar factory comes down after 100-year history – VIDEO

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eaton_sugarEATON, COLORADO — Shelly Ingersoll was up at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday to make sure she had a front-row seat to the 8 a.m. show.

It proved to be the longest wait ever for the shortest thrill ever, she said.

Twenty-five seconds after the first round of explosives were heard coming from the former Great Western Sugar factory off U.S. 85 and 4th Street, it was over.

Only the shell of the 111-year-old piece of Eaton history remained standing.

“It didn’t want to go down,” Ingersoll said with a laugh after the implosion that took out the middle part of the main building along with a water tower and smoke stack. “It wanted to stay.”

The implosion slightly disappointed most of the hundreds of people who had gathered to watch the event hoping to see the entire building collapse, but it was what the company hired to bring it down and clean up the area expected.

“I was hoping that if they were going to kill a piece of history, that they’d do it a little more spectacularly,” Ingersoll said. “But we did see what we came for.”

Officials with Recycled Materials Company, Inc., which oversaw the project, and Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp., the company hired to bring the building down, said on Friday that the outside walls of the building might remain intact after the implosion.

They wanted to make sure the support beams of the building didn’t become shrapnel to security officers, company employees or spectators who lined the viewing areas with lawn chairs, blankets and cameras.

Dave Alexander, the general superintendent on the project for Recycled Materials, said cast-iron doesn’t react in explosions like steel, it can cause a lot of damage. For that reason, they wanted to contain the implosion as much as possible, so they only wired the ground floor beams. They loosened the bolts on the beams of the two upper floors, so they would collapse when the lower floor came down — internally.

The company will finish bringing the building down and then clean up the area. Recycled Materials paid Eaton $50,000 to demolish the building. It will collect the scraps.

The 25 seconds it took to bring down what did come down was still exciting. As the smoke stack fell, the water tower hit the roof of the building, and the outside wall of the mid-section fell in a plume of smoke.

“Cool!” most every child younger than 10 could be heard saying.

As people waited for the sound of dynamite, some stood around and speculated about what happened to the building that has sat empty for more than three decades.

Some came, simply, because they had never witnessed an implosion before.

“Imagine all the sunrises this place has seen over the years,” said Greeley resident Susie Himmel, who brought her niece and a friend to watch history.

Jon Pfeiffer, who worked for Great Western in both Brighton and Longmont in the 1960s, has lived in Eaton for five years. He came out of curiosity.

“Kind of looked like a dud,” he said with a laugh.

And still others came to see the staple along the Eaton skyline for one last time.

“It’s weird,” 11-year-old Gavin Huckaby said. “That water tower has navigated farmers to Eaton for 100 years. But I guess the silo will work well for that, too.”