HAVERHILL (CBS) – A landmark smokestack in Haverhill will be taken down brick-by-brick after it was struck by lightning over the weekend.
The smokestack at the former L.H. Hamel Leather Company was hit Sunday, sending bricks and debris flying towards the entrance of the Hamel Mill lofts apartment complex next door. No one was hurt but more than 100 people living there had to be evacuated because authorities are concerned the smokestack could collapse at any moment.
Engineers were brought in Monday to assess the damage from a crane and then take the chimney down brick by brick for safety reasons.
“My windows are very close. I know they have the radius down and stuff like that but I’m one apartment away…a little bit nerve-wracking,” said tenant Kailey Case.
The smokestack is a piece of the city’s manufacturing history.
“This was at one time, one of the largest shoe factories in the whole world, Hamel Leather Company. This was a symbol so we’re very sorry to see it go but safety has to come first,” said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini.
He also said some of the bricks will be donated to a local museum.
A spokesperson for Hamel Mill Lofts told WBZ-TV, “We hope to complete the work necessary to create a safe condition on Tuesday. We are in touch with evacuated residents directly, and we will let them know as soon as local authorities declare the area safe and permit their return to their homes. We know the smokestack is a historic and cherished Haverhill landmark. While we regret having to dismantle it, we are compelled to prioritize safety and follow the direction of local authorities.”