The Detonators - Join explosives experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey for a backstage pass to the world’s biggest and toughest demolition jobs. From urban skyscrapers and massive steel bridges to giant stadiums and towering cranes, you'll meet the highly-skilled blasters who can bring down any structure with pinpoint accuracy. Using special sacrifice cameras and high-speed camera technology, our experts will give you a unique, behind-the-scenes look at how demolition specialists take down engineering giants with the push of a button.
The Detonators takes you inside the explosive-packed world of professional demolition engineers as they use all their skills to fire off the perfect blast.
Episode 1 – Corpus Christie, Texas & Liverpool, England
Explosive experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey travel the globe to see how the biggest demolitions are done - and how they could be done better. In this episode, Braden visits the blast sites of two steel structures: one, a pair of bridge towers in Corpus Christie, Texas; the second, two harbour cranes in Liverpool, England. Both blasts run the risk of blocking the channel with blast debris, but Braden is particularly concerned about the one in Corpus Christie. Because the back legs of the bridge towers have not been pre-weakened, there is a chance that the blast won't go according to plan.
Episode 2 - Coral Gables, Florida
Explosives expert Dr. Braden Lusk takes us to the heart of Coral Gables, Florida - home to the historic Ponce De Leon Towers. Built in the 1970s, this former office building was the town's tallest building, and now it's slated for an explosive demolition. The building was constructed out of concrete and steel, two heavy-duty materials that react very differently to explosives. Veteran blaster Jim Redyke is faced with the challenge of getting both the concrete core and the steel frame to topple simultaneously, and in the same direction. With pedestrian traffic and other buildings in close proximity, Jim doesn't want any surprises when he pushes the button. But as he'll see, not all blasts go off according to plan.
Episode 3 – Glasgow, Scotland & Birmingham, Alabama
Explosives experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey show us how demolition blasters bring down urban buildings with unprecedented accuracy. First, Braden travels to Glasgow, Scotland, where blasters are using a computerized detonation system to blast a pair of high-rise towers. Not only are the two buildings extremely tall, but they are right across the street from other, vital buildings that the city does not want damaged. At the test lab, Paul and Braden examine how blaster Jim Redyke is taking down an old hotel in downtown Birmingham, Alabama with a mix of explosives. When a building is in the middle of a busy downtown area, blasters have to be precise to avoid disaster.
Episode 4 – Bermuda & The Netherlands
Every now and then, demolition crews face a structure that’s so hazardous blasting it down is the only safe option. Explosives experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey take us behind the scenes at the blasts of two structures that just can’t be brought down with a wrecking ball. Braden goes to Bermuda, where blasters attempt to implode a huge former beach resort. Built to withstand hurricanes, this massive concrete building is hiding a dangerous demolition hazard within its walls. Then Paul shows us a towering industrial chimney in the Netherlands that requires the special skills of a blast crew to bring it down to the ground safely. When blasters go up against high-risk structures, explosive precision is critical, because failure can mean damaging nearby businesses and homes.
Episode 5 – Glasgow, Scotland & Foxburg, Pennsylvania
Explosive experts Dr. Paul Worsey and Dr. Braden Lusk show us how blasters use cutting-edge technologies to take down structures in tight spaces. First, Paul travels to Glasgow, Scotland, where explosive engineers are attempting to demolish two high-rise towers that sit less than 25 feet from a major commuter rail line. Back at their lab, Paul and Braden check out another blast—the demolition of an old bridge in Pennsylvania that’s just a few feet from its multi-million dollar replacement. If either blast goes wrong, commuters will be stranded…and residents will be furious.
Episode 6 – Louisville, Kentucky & Birmingham, England
Explosives expert Dr. Paul Worsey focuses on the demolition of a giant office building in Louisville Kentucky. This building's a tough challenge: it’s built using a relatively new technology called post-tension. Not a lot of blasters have brought down buildings made like this. And what makes this blast an even bigger headache is that it's just feet away from a major commuter bridge that blasters have to keep safe. Half way around the globe in Birmingham UK, blasters are taking down another concrete giant. This one's a traditional concrete building, but it's no easier. The building's columns are three feet thick - four times thicker than normal. Will the blasters be able to take down these concrete hulks without any damages?
Episode 7 – Fort William, Scotland & Canada
There’s more than one way to tackle an explosive demolition. Explosives experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey examine two steel paper mills that are about to get blasted, but with two totally different methods. In Scotland, a veteran blaster is bringing down a 3000 ton steel structure buy cutting the building’s legs clean through before blast time – leaving only gravity to keep it upright until dynamite brings it down. Across the Atlantic in Canada, a blaster faces his own steel giant, but he’s opted for a powerful explosive to cut through the steel, dropping this beast to the ground. The only problem - it sits six yards away from an active paper plant. These two high-risk demolitions prove that blasting steel safely is a job left to seasoned professionals.
Episode 8 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, England & Midland, Texas
Explosive experts Dr. Paul Worsey and Dr. Braden Lusk look at exactly how blasters take down huge concrete buildings. First up, Braden travels to Newcastle, England, where the blast team is using a whopping 2500 detonators to demolish a giant bottling plant. Back in Missouri, Braden challenges Paul to create his own detonation sequence, and Paul lights up the blast lab. And in Midland, Texas, the pressure is on for blasters Jim Redyke and Chester Grace. Just months earlier, a big blast of theirs went wrong when part of the building’s core stubbornly refused to fall. In Midland, they’ve got a similar structure to blast, but this one’s in the city’s downtown. They can’t afford to make the smallest mistake.
Episode 9 – Bismarck, North Dakota.
Explosives expert Dr. Paul Worsey reveals the tricks of the trade at the blast of a 2500 foot long steel bridge in Bismarck, North Dakota. The blaster in charge is Cody Gustafson, whose family specializes in bringing down giant bridges. Cody’s biggest challenge is to blast the bridge without crushing its $49 million dollar replacement just 25 feet away. He must also make sure that air blast from the explosion doesn’t shatter the windows on the residential houses nearby. But his trouble doesn’t end here. During preparation, Cody has to contend with rainstorms, North Dakota’s notoriously high winds and freezing weather. The Bismarck bridge blast is shaping up to be one that neither Cody nor Paul will ever forget.
Episode 10 – Weirton, West Virginia
Dykon’s Jim Redyke, and his second-in-command Chester Grace, face off against a detonation obstacle course. They’ve got to take down four hulking structures at an old steel mill in West Virginia, and they’ve got just two short days to get the job done. Each structure presents its own unique problems. They’ve got a coal tipple in such bad condition that the prep work threatens to bring it down suddenly and without warning. There’s a smokestack that has more steel reinforcement than they’ve ever seen. There’s a water tower with round legs that require them to perfectly bend their cutting charges or risk a disastrous misfire. Finally, they have a set of four silos, which are the kind of structure most blasters shy away from because they are so unpredictable to shoot. To make matters worse, these silos are right next to a building that’s got to survive. These are two days the guys at Dykon won’t forget.
Episode 11 – Toronto, Ohio & Chicago, Illinois
Explosives experts Dr. Braden Lusk and Dr. Paul Worsey examine two massive industrial smokestack demolitions – and both are sure to be a challenge for the blasters in charge. In Toronto, Ohio, blaster Jim Redyke is up against a 650 foot concrete giant, one of the tallest he’s ever faced. There’s only one direction this behemoth can go, but toppling 10,000 tons of concrete takes nerves and skill. For the blaster in a crowded Chicago suburb, the job is even tougher. He has to drop the stack, which is made of 150,000 bricks, straight down. To make matters worse, the stack sits smack in the middle of a sprawling apartment complex. Blasting these giants comes with sky-high risks, and one of these monster chimneys is about to take a turn for the worse.
Episode 12 – Lagos, Nigeria & Charlotte, North Carolina
In Nigeria, the Bank of Industry building, half-destroyed several years ago by lightning, loom over the city of Lagos. It’s up to blasters BOB DAPHNE AND MIKE PERKIN of the South African company Wreckers to bring it down safely. The building’s top floors, where the lightning struck, are dangerously unstable, so they are forced to abandon all conventional prep work on its super strong central core. Bob and Mike must use three times the typical firepower to take this monster down. More explosives mean higher risk… and that’s something this problem-riddled blast can’t afford to have. In Charlotte, North Carolina, blaster Jim Redyke has a different kind of headache. He’s blasting the Charlotte Coliseum, an irregularly-shaped giant sports stadium with a very special type of roof. Jim thinks he’s got the blast under control, but Mother Nature has a surprise in store for him.