Evacuation orders, street closures for Fargo high rise implosion

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 2:42 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - People in Fargo are asked to prepare for street closures, evacuations and loud explosions as the city prepares to implode the downtown high rise.

The implosion of the Lashkowitz High Rise is scheduled for 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 16. The Fargo Fire Department is ordering a temporary evacuation of the area, known as the “Exclusion Zone.” Anyone inside this zone must evacuate and failure to comply could result in a $1,000 fine.

"Exclusion Zone" for the implosion of the Fargo High Rise.
"Exclusion Zone" for the implosion of the Fargo High Rise.(City of Fargo)

The evacuation order is expected to be in place from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The process may conclude before 9:30 a.m., which will allow residents to return to their homes.

The Fargo Housing & Redevelopment Authority (FHRA) contracted with Target Contractors of Ladson, South Carolina, which has assembled a group of experts who have developed a plan to conduct the controlled implosion at 101 2nd Street South.

What to Expect During Demolition:

Streets around the High-Rise will be closed to traffic starting at 5:30 a.m. Streets will reopen once cleanup is complete. The closures include:

  • 4th St. S. from Main Ave. to Prairie St. John’s
  • 2nd St. S. from the Main Ave. roundabout to 4th St. S.
  • Main Ave. from 4th St. S. to the roundabout

The public should expect the sound of the explosives detonation to be very loud, like the sound of a firework. City officials say the best way to protect yourself is to stay inside until the event is over. If you must be outside near the Exclusion Zone, earplugs are recommended.

There is a small possibility that windows and other glass in the Exclusion Zone will break. The implosion team will use airhorn signals:

  • One long signal: Preparing to blast (clear the blast area)
  • Two short signals: Ready to blast (after the area is confirmed to be clear)
  • Three short signals: All clear

FHRA has contracted with an environmental engineering consultant to monitor air quality. The implosion may create dust. If you have breathing problems and live near the Exclusion Zone, consider wearing a protective mask during the event. You can reduce dust inside of your home by turning off your air conditioning until the dust settles.

Members of the public who want to watch the implosion must stay out of the Exclusion Zone. Depending on the wind speed and direction, dust may travel outside of that zone.