Asarco demolition day goes smoothly

Officials: No major incidents

By Adriana M. Chávez \ EL PASO TIMES

Saturday’s demolition of two Asarco smokestacks caused no emergencies, according to police and fire officials.

Police at the Westside Regional Command Center, where the patrol area for its officers includes the former Asarco smelter site, reported no major incidents connected to the demolition.

George De La Torre, a spokesman for the El Paso Fire Department, also said firefighters reported no demolition-related emergencies.

The closings of Paisano Drive and both sides of Interstate 10 did create traffic headaches along Mesa Street between Sunland Park Drive and Downtown El Paso. A minor three-vehicle crash was reported at Mesa Street and Argonaut Drive, and heavy traffic was also reported at the Mesa Street exit of I-10 East in West El Paso.

Road closings at I-10 and Executive Center Boulevard and Executive Center at Mesa began about 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation in El Paso said the roadways reopened within about two hours of the demolition.

The dust cloud immediately began traveling south toward Juárez just after the tallest Asarco smokestack fell, then spread southeast toward Downtown El Paso.

Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at; 546-6117. Follow her on Twitter @AChavezEPTimes.