Using a controlled explosion, the last Stelco blast furnace in Hamilton was destroyed on Wednesday. For more than fifty years, the towering steelmaking relic dominated the western bayfront skyline.
last Stelco blast furnace in Hamilton was destroyed
On Wednesday, the final blast furnace of Stelco was destroyed. After being shut down for ten years, the controlled explosion signaled the company’s Hamilton primary steelmaking furnaces’ symbolic demise.
Stelco keeps finishing facilities in Hamilton while moving all of its iron and steel production to the Nanticoke Plant. Stelco announced earlier this year that it had sold the developer Slate *00 acres of its bayfront property for $518 million.
What happened in the Hamilton blast furnace?
The final Stelco blast furnace in Hamilton was destroyed on Wednesday using a controlled explosion. The imposing steelmaking monument dominated the western bayfront skyline for more than fifty years.
Although some neighbors claimed they were unaware the event was going to happen, today’s explosion, which could be clearly heard as far as the South Mountain, was described as a “planned” event. The blast produced a sizable dust cloud, which attracted attention from Environment Hamilton and criticism. However, demolishing the surplus lands is a necessary step to prepare them for remediation and eventual development as a cleaner industrial park.
The approximately 200-foot-tall “E” blast furnace on Pier 16 slowly collapsed after a loud boom that reverberated throughout the harbor. It was constructed in 1968. At Pier 8, a few Stelco employees gathered to watch the demolition and accompanying dust cloud.
Statement by the Hamilton police
Early this morning, Hamilton police issued a public alert about a potential “very big and very loud” explosion. The demolition was overseen by Slate Asset Management, the new owner of the former Stelco lands.
Since the blast furnace’s controversial closure by its former owner, U.S. Steel, when that company stopped producing iron and steel in Hamilton, more than ten years ago, the facility has not been in use.
What is Stelco?
After being extricated from creditor protection and given the new name Stelco in 2017, the company is now solely focused on producing iron and steel in Nanticoke, though it continues to operate steel finishing operations and produce coke on rented land in Hamilton.
800 acres of historically significant bayfront land owned by Stelco were sold to prospective redeveloper Slate this year for $518 million. Buildings that once housed steel production have been gradually being torn down for years.
Although the public was not permitted on the grounds of Hilton Works or within 1,000 feet of the blast site, an unofficial viewing event of Stelco’s 2004 demolition of its older “D” blast furnace did take place.
“Big E” is the final of Stelco’s alphabetically named furnaces; A through C were also destroyed decades earlier as the steelmaker’s needs changed as technology advanced.
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The Spectator reporter Matthew Van Dongen covers the environment and transportation.
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