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Structure imploded at old Smurfit Stone mill

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Dec 06 2012 06:57:18 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 06 2012 07:06:01 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

An explosives expert imploded another building at the Smurfit Stone mill site.

Smurfit's new owner reports it's razing some structures to make way for potential industrial manufacturing companies.

Greg Rogers is a blasting consultant.

It's a high risk business.

But the explosives  expert said imploding  the  building which was attached to the recovery boiler shouldn't be hard.

"We separate the two," said Rogers, "we use specialized explosives for just the I beams and cause it to implode."

The area around the mill site was cleared. Traffic bottled up a little. But drivers didn't have to wait long.

In just seconds, the building came down without a hitch, cleanly severed from its big brother building, the recovery boiler.

"It breaks my heart," said Frenchtown resident, Mykell Potter Erving. "because there are a lot of friends that worked there, and here our economy suffers because that couldn't continue."

Smurfit Stone closed its doors almost three years ago, idling more than 400 workers.

The recovery boiler building is coming down too.

"About the first of the year," said project manager Patrick Clevenger.

M2 Green is trying to install new manufacturing businesses on the old site. It has no tenants so far. But once the big boiler is gone it will open up space.

"If somebody wants to build where they have a lot of natural gas, electricity and a lot of water and rail spurs."

Hazardous chemicals have been discovered on mill property.

There is pressure to designate it a Superfund site.

The company said it has experience cleaning up contaminated sites and would like to do this cleanup job itself.

But designation is still under consideration by Governor Schweitzer.

The Environmental Protection Agency will decide in April 2013 whether to place Smurfit on the National priorities list as a Superfund site.

M2 Green said potential purchase agreements are on hold awaiting clarification from EPA.