When Alabama demolition contractor Tim Phifer didn't get the results he wanted from his explosives charge, he tried another tactic for bringing down a 158-foot-tall, 113-year-old smokestack: He started pulling bricks away from the base of the tower with a trackhoe. What happened next is shown in the video below, captured by a quadcopter drone camera.
It worked a little too well: The tower leaned, then crashed to the ground, badly damaging the trackhoe, but somehow sparing Phifer from injury or death, according to a report in the Birmingham News (see: "'I didn't have time to be scared': Trackhoe operator buried by bricks during Avondale Mills demolition," by Jeremy Gray). Phifer "has some bruises on his right side and some cuts where bricks fell through the sunroof," the paper reported — and he told the paper, "My pride took a licking on it."
Now, however, Phifer is also in legal trouble (see: "Alabama trackhoe operator arrested for explosives violation after smokestack collapse," by Jeremy Gray.) "St. Clair County District Attorney Richard Minor said this evening Tim Phifer was arrested on one count of possession of explosives," the paper reported. "State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said Phifer's state issued license to handle explosives had expired. Paulk said his office began its investigation into the demolition after seeing YouTube video of the smokestack unexpectedly crumbling onto the trackhoe."