Final preparations made for Keystone Towers demolition


INDIANAPOLIS - For years, thousands of people in Indianapolis have had to look at it every day. In 48 hours, it will be gone.

The two buildings that make up Keystone Towers will come down in a heap after a big explosion Sunday morning. The complex has been an eyesore for people driving along Keystone and Fall Creek Parkway. It was built in 1973, but it fell into disrepair in the 1980s.

Keystone Towers has never looked worse and Harold Watters wants to capture that. He was at the site taking some final pictures Friday.

"It once housed a lot of good people for a while and now it's an eyesore," he said.

Sunday, it all comes down in a cloud of dust just like Market Square Arena did. While the implosion will take just 14 seconds, getting the site ready has taken weeks.

Mark Wilburn took Eyewitness News inside the now gutted buildings where workers were drilling holes and planting explosives.

"This column is loaded with dynamite. There are five holes in each column with a detonator behind it," said Wilburn.

The columns are wrapped in chain link fencing and geo-tech fabric to keep rocks from flying out.

Six-year-old Eliya Kelly will lead the countdown for her dad. He's done scores of implosions and still gets nervous.

"You're walking back and forth the last five minutes thinking not about what's right, but what could go wrong. Is everything in the right spot? Have you taken enough protective measures? Is someone hiding behind a bush?" said Eric Kelly, Advanced Explosives Demolition.

Despite being gutted, you can still see remnants of the buildings past life including the elevator shaft and track lighting. The piles of rubble are nothing compared to what's ahead.

"Once it's on the ground the unglamorous work begins. We go through and segregate the matter, pull out anything recyclable," said Frank Burdick, Denney Excavating.

Many people who live and work nearby can't wait until Sunday.

"We've got ringside seats to the fireworks. What could possibly be better than that?" said Dave Donnelly, Indianapolis.

"I'm excited for it to come down, see the structure gone and get something new in there," said Matt Kane, resident.

Watters will also be nearby focusing on those last 14 seconds.

"This is a once in a lifetime here that you'll kind of see and hear and show the grandkids," he said.

More to the story from reporter Mary Milz

If all goes as planned, WTHR viewers will see the Keystone Towers implosion from several different angles. We'll have live pictures from the ground, live aerials and live video from inside the eight-story office tower as the buildings come crashing down.

Jack Tapp, WTHR's Technical Services Manager took the lead in setting up the "implosion camera."

It's a Sony surveillance camera with a fixed lens encased in aluminum housing to protect it as much as possible from flying debris.

Working with demo crews, Tapp installed the camera on the top of the office building facing northeast, a strategic move meant to give viewers the biggest bang for their buck.

"You can see the east and west faces of the [main] building completely. We're hoping you'll see all the charges blowing out of the side of that building as it comes down and we'll stay live long enough to see the first building go down and then see the camera ride down with the second building," he said.

Tapp is using 1,000 feet of video cable and a power inserter so the camera can be powered remotely with the video recorded in our live truck.

As for the fate of the implosion camera? "I've asked the implosion guys to return it if they find it. All the engineers signed the outside of the housing and there's a phone number to call if someone finds it and a reward."

Asked if the camera has any chance of surviving such a powerful blast, Tapp replied, "depends on how big a rock falls on it."

We'll let you know what happens Sunday.

Road closures 

The 15-story main and eight-story office towers of the Keystone Towers complex are scheduled to be imploded at 8:00 am Sunday, August 28, 2011. WTHR will place a camera inside the tower, and you can watch the implosion live on WTHR-TV or on

The following roads will be closed starting at 7:00 am Sunday and continuing until at least half an hour after the implosion.

Keystone Ave. between 46th St. and Binford Blvd.
46th St. between Keystone Ave. and Binford Blvd.
Binford Blvd. between Keystone Ave. and 46th St.
East Fall Creek Pkwy. North Dr. between 46th St. and Binford Blvd.

Police say the best way to view the implosion will be on television sets at home, and they strongly encourage people to stay home. Public viewing will now be restricted to areas outside of the "triangle" perimeter of closed streets. Living Water Fellowship Church, located at 2902 East 46th St. and Clay's Enterprise Auto Repair Shop, located at 2750 East 46th Street, have offered to make their parking lots available to the public as space allows. Both lots are on the north side of the intersection of Allisonville Rd. and 46th St.

As a precaution, Metro Police will be working with the Harbour Pointe apartment complex to relocate some residents beginning at 6:00 am Sunday morning until the implosion is complete. These residents will be able to go to a viewing area or to a designated indoor location nearby. Residents with questions or concerns regarding relocation during the implosion should call 546-9784.

All nearby residents and businesses are encouraged to turn off air handling units five minutes before the implosion and keep units off for 30 minutes after the implosion as a way to mitigate dust circulation.