Grainger Steam Plant smokestacks demolished

The smokestacks from the Grainger Steam Plant coming down the morning of Feb. 7, 2016.

A staple of the Conway skyline is now gone.

The pair of 300 foot smoke stacks at Santee Cooper's Grainger Steam Plant were demolished this morning at 8 a.m.

The demolition took only a few seconds thanks to 330 holes filled with 120 pounds of nitroglycerin laced dynamite.

Hundreds of people braved cold temperatures and rain to watch the stacks come down.

For many, it was a historic day and bittersweet.

"It was what I expected," said Allison Hampton, who braved the cold, rainy weather with her husband to watch the demolition. "But it seems strange not to see it again."

Smoke billowed from the bottoms of the stacks, following a loud boom, that some described as a large firework.

"You could feel it in your feet, like ah," explained Hampton. "Very exciting."

"It was loud," said Rich Agle, who lives in Conway.

"Well to be frank it scared the crap out of me," added his son, Richie. "I'm sitting here waiting for it to go, waiting for it to go and then it goes. And I'm like whoa," said Richie.

People gathered near Lake Busbee across from the smoke stacks on U.S. Highway 501 to catch a glimpse of the action.

The ground shook as the stacks finally collapsed to the ground.

"I think I was expecting it to drop differently," said Jason Adams. "For me I thought it would be kind of straight down. But it kind of just fell over. I don't know. I was expecting a bigger boom."

What seemed without warning, the two stacks fell, and some people said they almost missed it because it happened so fast.

"I turned to my dad and started talking to him and then I heard the boom and that's when they stated falling. So I turned back and I got them just in time," said Jenna Caughey.

Susan Mungo with Santee Cooper said the demolition went off even better than they expected.

"65 percent of that stack was either already had holes in it or major openings in it," she explained.

She said now the smoke has cleared and the dust settled, it's time to start removing the rubble and looking towards to future for the site.

"The stacks did not just fall today. I want to say they passed on the torch because we are looking for a bright future on that site," said Mungo. "We hope to bring in commerce and industry and something that will continue to be good for this area."

Once the rubble from the stacks has been removed and the demolition completed, the ground will be layered with soil, graded and covered with grass, according to a release from Santee Cooper.

Mungo said they plan to have the site cleared with green grass ready for new infrastructure this summer.

The future of the site has not yet been determined, and Santee Cooper intends to work with the city of Conway to re-purpose it for economic benefit. Ash recycling at Grainger's two ash ponds will continue, the company said.

You can watch the stacks come down in the video player above.

Many on social media said they are sad to see the staples of the area skyline gone.

Santee Cooper operated Grainger Generating Station from 1966 to 2012.

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