Tearing down the Imperial Sugar silos

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - Demolition crews began knocking the silos at the Imperial Sugar refinery down this morning. Workers say this is a good sign, a sign of rebuilding.

We have heard that Imperial Sugar is going to rebuild and taking down the silos is one of the first steps.

The walls of the silos are 18 inches with concrete. This week, construction crews started knocking down the piles of concrete using a wrecking ball.

The silos are the last part of the refinery to be demolished.

Many are calling this a major milestone. The silos have been part of the refinery since 1930. But too much damage was done to them by the explosion. It wasn't until last week that OSHA gave workers permission to take them down.

Our Lady of Lourdes father Michael Kavanaugh was there the night of the explosion, and today we showed him the video of the demolition.

"It's a good sign you remember what went on, and how bad things were and still are for some families but this is the process of rebirth," said Kavanaugh.

Besides Father Kavanaugh, many others have been looking forward to this day for months.

"I think everyone has been looking forward to rebuilding to getting back to work and tearing down old and make preparations to start over again," said Kavanaugh. "I think it's a good sign for the whole community the folks who used to work here at the refinery and live here and it's really a hopeful sign for the larger community."

As the past starts to crumble down, thoughts now turn to the future. A rebuilt plant running to full capacity.

Inside the silos, there is brown material sticking to the side. That is sugar. In fact, just inside that silo is 2.8 million pounds of sugar. And Imperial Sugar says they are planning to recycle the sugar, but not as a food product.

They are hoping to have this entire project finished by next weekend and hope to be up and running 100 percent by this time next year.