FARGO – “Get behind the bike line!” A Fargo policeman stated as he walked down the bike trails near the Moorhead river. Reporters and photographers who were closer to the riverside were instructed to get back to a safer distance from the Lashkowitz High Rise demolition site.
Groups of people scattered about along a large, grassy hill – some huddled up in their blankets and others watching the building with interest as they sipped their coffee.
The Lashkowitz High Rise was imploded on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 a.m., drawing in Fargo-Moorhead area residents to watch the implosion together.
Groups of college students, parents and their kids and even the homeowners whose lawn was used as a good watching point, were able to get a glimpse at the large-scale event.
Flying drones with video surveillance were seen flying around the area and alongside the river.
Paul Steichen, a Minnesota State University Moorhead student, was with his friends as they were preparing to see the demolition occur.
“It should be any minute now,” Steichen said as he checked his phone for the time. “Hopefully we’re out of the blast zone.”
Across the hill and along the treeline, there stood another group of students who had come to witness the implosion.
Gavin Groshelle, a Concordia College student, recalled how he had heard about the event months back on the news. Groshelle had placed it on his calendar so he could make sure to watch it. He was surprised to see how many people had come to watch the implosion.
“It’s about to come down,” Groshelle said. “I really don’t want to miss it.”
Just like him, many others didn’t want to miss the demolition as they crowded along the bike path.
Once the clock struck 7 a.m., people were surprised to see that there were no sounds of explosives and the building was still standing. For a few moments, people were quietly waiting for any sign that the explosives would go off.
And after two minutes without warning, the booms of the explosives could be heard. A couple of people reported the explosive sounds to sound similar to fireworks.
People jumped and screamed as the sound was finally and surprisingly heard.
Small flecks of orange could be seen from far distances away. Smoke and dust came up almost instantaneously. People in the crowd whooped as the Lashkowitz High Rise crumbled to the ground.
After the building had fallen, a large plume of smoke came out, covering some of the skyline and smothering trees. It took a handful of minutes for the smoke and dust to finally clear enough for people to finally see the trees again.
“It was very loud,” Carly Armstrong said as she continued to watch the smoke and dust spread.
The demolition created a peculiar hotspot of gathering for people. While many people stood along the riverside of Moorhead, many people were also standing in a homeowner’s backyard.
The lawn, belonging to Cindy Svobodny, housed multiple guests and even a fireplace that was lit for the event.
Svobodyny was surprised that there was no warning that had been given out to her despite being so close to the demolition site, yet she was still in good spirits for the event.
“I think we needed some good implosion music,” Svobodny said.
Svobodny’s brother, Richard Svobodny, was also at the event and he recalls being able to remember when the Lashkowitz High Rise was being built. He never would’ve been able to guess that it would’ve been torn down, Svobodny said.
For the building’s demolition, a temporary evacuation of the area was laid out and residents of nearby apartments were asked to leave for a short while so the rubble could settle.
The building’s tear down was a hefty project, and approximately 500 pounds of explosives were used to implode the building.