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Gates Circle Hospital Implosion Not the Best Live Spectator Sport

As a disclaimer to this Buffalo News story projecting a “big crowd” for the planned October 3 implosion of the former Kaleida Health Millard Fillmore Gates Circle hospital, there are very real air quality concerns associated with such demolitions that potential spectators and nearby residents should know about.

Below is a map showing the implosion site, with the hospital shaded red.

OSC Street Closure_Implosion











(Note the “Hospitality Area” on the roof of the parking ramp, near the Command Center!)

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars are to be outside the red boundary when the implosion takes place at 7am. If you live within the red boundary, your best bet is to remain inside your house until the dust settles—at least an hour after the blast, according to this study by Johns Hopkins University, published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.

From the study:

Demolition by implosion is conducted by using

nitroglycerine-based dynamite to strategically destroy

load-bearing structures, allowing the building to collapse

onto itself. Depending on the timing and location of

charges, implosion contractors are able to predetermine

the direction of the collapse and subsequent debris pile.3

(The demolition that is the subject of this paper was

conducted by collapsing a high-rise on top of adjacent

smaller buildings, thereby achieving multiple building

demolitions from a single implosion.) For economic purposes

and to minimize the emission of hazardous chemicals

during demolition or debris removal, recyclable (e.g.,

plumbing and ventilation) and hazardous materials (e.g.,

asbestos and lead [Pb]), respectively, are removed before

the implosion.4 Asbestos removal is federally regulated

under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air

Pollutants (NESHAP, 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M). Depending

on proximity, adjacent buildings may be draped with a

heavy-gauge plastic or woven vinyl to prevent damage

from flying debris. Such a precaution likely has a secondary

benefit of reducing dust infiltration. Emissions and

exposure also can be affected by meteorology. Specific

criteria are site-and contractor-dependent; however, in

general, light precipitation with winds in the direction of

sparse population is desirable. Post-implosion settled dust

control strategies include suppression with water and vacuum

street cleaners.


Despite these precautions, the potential for human

exposure to air contaminants from urban building implosions

is great because of a combination of high population

density, the enormous particulate matter (PM) emission

rate, and the resulting high PM concentrations. The

exposure potential is further exacerbated by the spectacle

of the event and media promotion that brings community

residents outdoors and to the site, swelling the exposed

population. In addition to the short-term exposure

concern associated with the airborne PM at the time of

the implosion, there is the potential for longer-term exposure

to PM that settles across the community and then

is available to be resuspended and inhaled or ingested after hand-to-mouth contact.

Here’s a more current Google map of the area, showing the current pile of rubble from the partial demolition of the hospital buildings that has been taking place all summer. Also, with the white descriptive boxes removed, you can more easily see just how many homes and residences are within the blast zone. It will be a matter of which way the wind blows that morning to see who gets the worst of the fallout.

DON'T Get to Gates!

DON’T Get to Gates!











Here are a few bullet points for would-be spectators and nearby residents, from the study:

Stay away from the implosion. Watch it on TV especially if you are very young, elderly, have immune problems, or a lung disease like asthma.

Stay indoors. If you live near the implosion, keep your doors and windows closed before and for one hour after the implosion.

Implosion dust can get indoors. Use a damp cloth or mop to clean dust from surfaces. Don’t vacuum the dust. Vacuuming stirs the dust back up into the air.

Rinse sidewalks and door stoops with a hose. The dust settles on outdoor surfaces near or downwind from the implosion.

Remove shoes or use a doormat. This will keep the dust from being carried inside.

Ontario Specialty Contracting, the demolition company performing the planned collapse, is hosting an informational session to answer questions on what the implosion entails at the parking lot located at 637 Linwood Avenue at 5pm on Thursday, September 24.


  • Joseph Ferguson

    The implosion dust is mainly respirable silica and is very caustic. Check out what the head dust lady from the EPA says about it.

  • Ridgewaycynic2013

    Now how else can the [BN]competent draw a big crowd, in order to run one of their insipid “Smiles from…” photo galleries that masquerade as news? (buy this photo)

    • KBuffalo

      My favorite, up a couple of days ago, was “Smiles at Airborne Toxic Event.” Come to think of it, they could re-use that headline for the demolition!

      • Ridgewaycynic2013

        I’m trying to recall if the dreck was titled as such when they did the one from ‘Diarrhea Planet’.

  • Joseph Ferguson

    Another thing to consider is that they will make a big show of cleaning the streets and the sidewalks after the implosion but what about the roofs? They aren’t going to be cleaned, so that toxic dust will be blowing around for days every time the wind blows.

  • Sabres00
  • Joseph Ferguson

    That’s what happened to Stacey Loizeeaux when they imploded the Sheraton in Bal Harbour , Florida. She was several thousand feet away and she got beaned in the head by a piece of flying concrete. I heard it nearly killed her and she ended up getting 75 stitches in head.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013

      Oh, pshaw, what could possibly go wrong? I’ll be at the hospitality area, breathing deeply…

  • Louis_Ricciuti
  • Louis_Ricciuti
  • iq145

    That stinks. i thought they were going to turn the building into an animal hospital or a veterinarian school…