Clarion Casino-Hotel Imploded: Clarion Implosion Did Not Go As Planned

February 11, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Clarion Casino imploded in 10 seconds and the video of the implosion goes viral for the wrong reasons. Over 1000 pounds of explosives were used for the implosion of the Clarion Casino in Las Vegas and after the dust cleared up, people were surprised to discover that the elevator shaft remained standing.

Clarion casino imploded

The Clarion Casino imploded on Tuesday night, but not its stubborn elevator shaft. At around 3 a.m. after a 30-minute delay due to fact that Las Vegas police discovered several people in the blast zone, the Clarion Casino, which is located between the Strip and the Las Vegas Convention Center was imploded.

Several dozens of reporters and locals gathered at the site along with Lorenzo Doumani, the owner of the hotel, to watch the big blast.

Employees from Controlled Demolition Inc., worked for several months to set up over 1,100 pounds of explosives for the implosion of the 12-story, 200-room hotel. It took about 10 seconds to bring down the 45-year-old building, which was was owned by Debbie Reynolds.

But when the dust cleared, onlookers were baffled by what they saw – while 90% of the casino had been destroyed, a tower was left standing. The elevator shaft and the staircase of the Clarion Hotel and Casino, which stood at about 100 feet beat the odds and remained intact. One onlooker shared:

“We don’t do this in Wisconsin. It was truly amazing.”

The crew from Controlled Demolition Inc. stated that they knew there was a slim chance that the elevator shaft would sustain the blast, yet they had no wrecking balls available to take it down. Thom Doud, project manager of Controlled Demolition Inc., explained what went wrong:

“Basically, the debris fell so fast, it choked the base of that tower and didn’t give it the opportunity to move.”

Controlled Demolition Inc. called Anthony Schlecht, corporate safety coordinator for Burke Construction, who worked for the next 13 hours to figure out how to make the shaft collapse with the rest of the structure. Schlecht used an old cowboy trick to implode the elevator shaft of the Clarion casino. Mr Doumani, who purchased the 6-acre site of the Clarion in October for $22.5 million revealed:

“They lassoed the building with steel cables, got a crane, and pulled and pulled and pulled. The building is finally down.”

It will take several months for the site to be cleaned up and Doumani has big plans for it. The developer hopes to build a 60-story hotel tower that could be the tallest occupied building in Las Vegas by the end of 2015.

The now-imploded Clarion Casino was built in 1970 and was originally called The Paddlewheel Hotel Casino. In 1992, it was bought by Debbie Reynolds, who renamed it the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel and sold it to the World Wrestling Federation.

The property underwent several bankruptcies and closures before being taken over by Doumani. Rosemarie Warner, who worked at the hotel in the 2000s, said it was sad to watch the implosion because she had great memories there.

Warner, who wept as she stood next to her brother watching the demolition, told local media that she met her husband at the hotel and added:

“I met my husband there, and ended up with a big career there. It was the best place I’ve worked in Las Vegas.

Clarion Casino imploded, this seems to be the end of an era.

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    1. Bob says:

      “Required several months of planning and 4,400 pounds of explosives,” and part of it still stood. I wonder if it would have been easier to fly a plane into it and watch it “collapse because of structural failure mainly due to the fire.” Hope I got that quote right.


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