Hazleton Demolition Effects

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HAZLETON -- The crane was in position to begin demolition of a massive smokestack but it appeared too short to do the job.

There were other also other concerns.

State environmental officials say when the stack is torn down the air will be monitored, in case the stack contains cancer-causing asbestos.

That testing is good news to neighbor Richard Onuschak.

"Yeah, I think that’s a good idea, keep it as safe as possible," Onuschak said.

Penn Earth Works is doing the job and one of their employees will have the job of being lifted to the top of the 130 foot stack and begin taking it apart.

Lee Houser said he's looking forward to the experience.

"I've never been up that high before but I should be pretty safe in that basket. I'm not too worried about it. We use some electric chipping guns and hammers. I guess we're going to try to knock everything down inside as we go down."

On Friday, Hazleton city officials called for the voluntary evacuation of homes and closed several businesses, fearing the smokestack would collapse.

Lorie Malloy said she helps manage one of the closed businesses.

"They have to do what they have to do and we have to do what we have to do."

Malloy of the Heritage Supermarket, said she's concerned for her 60 employees taking a short time layoff and her customers.

"We have about 40 senior citizens customers who can't get out to grocery shop. We shop for them we deliver to their homes, in some cases we put the stuff away for them. We've contacted them all and told them if we're not open by Thursday call us, on our personal cell phones and we will deliver it to them."

An official of the demolition company said that it could take up to five days until the smokestack is brought down and made safe.