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After implosion, wrecking ball jokes and demolition continues on ‘Leaning Tower of Dallas’

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Crews have resumed the demolition of the Leaning Tower of Dallas on Tuesday using a wrecking ball — live video is embedded below. Following is our report from Monday, the wrecking ball’s first day of work taking down what’s left of the former Affiliated Computer Services building.

Eight days after the Leaning Tower of Dallas became a national sensation, people expected to see the accidental landmark reduced to rubble Monday.

People gathered in a field near downtown Dallas and camera crews broadcast live as workers prepared to knock down the part of an 11-story building that had survived an implosion.

But after watching what seemed like a comically small wrecking ball swing against the enormous tower, onlookers began to realize it wasn’t going to yield.

The company that’s tearing down the former Affiliated Computer Services building had said Friday that the demolition would take place between 9 a.m. and noon, leaving many people with the impression the tower was about to tumble.

By Monday afternoon, Lloyd D. Nabors Demolition said in an email that the process would take three or four days to finish.

The size of the wrecking ball — 5,600 pounds — had been chosen because of Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, the company said.

Mohammad Najafi, director of the University of Texas at Arlington’s construction management program, said the company may have underestimated the size of the crane needed to take down the remains of the building most efficiently.

He said the building’s core is like a grain silo.

“It’s one piece of concrete from bottom to top,” he said. “It will be very difficult to tear it down.”

Najafi said the crane would need to weigh a few hundred tons to hold a wrecking ball that could tear the building down faster.

If the company did misjudge, getting a larger crane now would be expensive because it takes several days to set up, he said.

Artemio De La Vega, CEO of the company that’s developing the $2.5 billion mixed-use project that will cover the building’s site and the land around it, said he had been surprised that the implosion didn’t finish the job.

“I thought it was gonna fall down,” he said. “But it didn’t, and here we are.”

As video of the incomplete implosion went viral, people began to flock to the site to pose for photos.

“Citizens of Dallas are fun,” De La Vega said. “They have a fun nature, and the spirit here is just phenomenal.”

Jerrel Sustaita had something more in mind than a quick selfie. He has spent days painting the tower on canvases of all sizes.

On Monday, he came to work on his 13th picture of the tower, hoping to memorialize its final moments.

By midday, he was up to No. 15, with no end in sight.

“I do have to get back to my day job,” the Dallas artist said. “I have some clients who have been very patient. … It’s been a week now; I think it’s time to let the professionals do their job.”

When Rocky Carter arrived before sunrise Monday to watch the demolition, he had mixed feelings.

“It’s not ugly,” he said. “They should leave it alone and see how long it’ll last.”

But by 1 p.m., he’d waited long enough.

“I did not expect this,” Carter said. “I gotta leave ’cause my kids have got to be at school.”

Diane Gruber and her daughter, Becky, spent the morning taking pictures of the demolition.

“She and I like to take crazy adventures, so we just thought we would make a day of it,” Diane Gruber said.

But they, too, were ready to call it a day by about 1 p.m.

“Maybe on the Fourth of July we could celebrate with some fireworks off the top of the building,” she said.

Staff writer Dana Branham contributed to this report.

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