Historic Parrish and Heimbecker Mill demolished in Saskatoon

Watch above: More than 100 people staked out their spots to watch the Parrish and Heimbecker Mill meet its fate early Saturday morning. Amber Rockliffe reports.

SASKATOON – After standing tall for decades, the 105-year-old Parrish and Heimbecker Mill came down in a matter of seconds. More than 100 people staked out their spots to watch the mill meet its fate early Saturday morning.

City officials said it was the first time in more than 50 years a building has imploded in Saskatoon.

Kevin Lensen spent more than 20 years hauling grain to the mill. On Saturday, he brought his daughter Nadine, 15, to watch it fall.

“It was good. The guys there were great to deal with,” he explained.

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The Winnipeg-based contractor Rakowski Cartage and Wrecking Ltd. performed the demolition.

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“There’s approximately 220 holes drilled, with an inch and a half diameter, and we’re using roughly 50 to 60 pounds of explosives,” explained the company’s owner Tristan Rakowski.

A 200-metre buffer zone was put in place two hours prior to the blast. People with respiratory issues were asked to stay away from the area.

Crews also placed low-yield explosives in pools of water around the structure to help mitigate dust.

“After the initial explosives go off, there are water columns surrounding the property that will shoot up and atomize water, basically making a water curtain around the site,” Rakowski said.

Officials on site said Mother Nature couldn’t have had better timing Saturday. Right after the blast, it began to rain, curbing the spread of dust.

The mill was built in 1910, and Parrish and Heimbecker has owned it since 1973.