Implosion goes wrong when stack collapses on track hoe operator

(WIAT Photo)

PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — One man is lucky to be alive after an iconic smokestack in Pell City finally came down.

The man was buried under the bricks and walked away from the rubble just happy to be alive.

Tuesday morning, there was plenty of excitement to see the Avondale Mills landmark come down. Pell City residents young and old came out to witness the rare demolition.

The smoke stack didn’t go easily. After two attempts to demolish it with explosives. Tim Phifer did some risky digging to finally get the landmark down–but it came at a near deathly cost.

One angle via drone video from Sky Bama shows the breathtaking moment:

Tim said as things quickly got dark, he was thinking: “stay in the hole, that cab was made for that thing turn over on top of it, I was safer inside the cab then coming out of it.

Many say its miraculous that the 20 year explosives vet made it out, and he agrees.

“God blesses me,” Phifer said to WIAT 42.

Phifer said even after seeing how dangerous it was, he would do it all again.


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