Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

High-rise tower block demolished

A 30-storey building at Birnie Court was brought down by around 88kg of explosives

A famous part of the Glasgow skyline has been demolished in the latest part of a regeneration project.

The 30-storey building at Birnie Court, one of the Red Road high-rise tower blocks, was brought down by around 88kg of explosives in a controlled blast.

The blowdown, watched by many onlookers at vantage points around the area, reduced the well known tower block to 10,000 tonnes of debris in a matter of seconds.

It was the second multi-storey to be demolished at Red Road following a similar demolition in June last year.

The blowdown is part of plans by the flats' owners, the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), to regenerate the Balornock and Barmulloch areas in the north east of the city. Many of the former tenants of the flats have been rehoused locally in new homes.

GHA's executive director of development and regeneration, Alex McGuire, said everything went according to plan. He said: "This block's been prepared for demolition for over a year now. There are the physical aspects of stripping out all the materials from the block that you don't want to feature in the blowdown, but there's also a lot of work that takes place with the community.

Around 450 homes were temporarily evacuated for the blowdown, with many of the local residents staying with family or friends or visiting the evacuation centre at All Saints Secondary School while it took place.

One former resident of the block, who looked on as it crashed to the ground, was 49-year-old Frances Smith, now of Bishopbriggs.

"I didn't realise how emotional it would be," she said. "Obviously we thought it would be sad to see it go, but it really was. I just think back to my mum and dad and various family members who are no longer with us and just think of all the happy times that we had in the flat."

The clear-up operation will now take several months to complete. The steel will be removed and recycled and the remaining rubble will be crushed and used as foundations for roads and buildings.

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