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Las Vegas hotel implosion doesn’t topple elevator shaft

February 10, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) — An elevator shaft withstood a blast meant to implode a Las Vegas hotel, and crews on Tuesday were planning a little more work to finish the job.

Most of the 12-story Clarion casino-hotel crumbled in a pre-dawn demolition designed to clear the site off the Strip and near the Las Vegas Convention Center for new construction.

But despite the detonation of 4,400 pounds (2,000 kilograms) of explosives, the elevator core just dropped about four stories and tilted a bit to one side.

It’s leaning and still has a ways to go, said property owner and developer Lorenzo Doumani. One option being considered was a wrecking ball to finish toppling the tower.

The hotel was the 13th to gain implosion infamy in a town that explodes the old to make way for the new.

Doumani had hoped it would be a lucky number as he and his family counted down to the Clarion’s final seconds at nearly 3 a.m., flanked by two showgirls and having listened to a pre-implosion soundtrack of Frank Sinatra.

The 200-room casino-hotel opened in 1970 as the Royal Inn and was called the Debbie Reynolds — for its one-time owner — as well as the Greek Isles and the Paddle Wheel.

What took seconds to destroy required several months of planning, said Anthony O. Schlecht, safety coordinator for Las Vegas-based Burke Construction. That extended to covering nearby pools, including at the neighboring Marriott hotel.

It’s been a while since controlled explosives toppled a casino-hotel. Between 2004 and 2007, six Vegas properties were brought down, but in the eight years since, the only Strip-side implosions were the segment of the Tropicana and a parking structure.

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