VIDEO: Asarco Demolition In El Paso

Apr 13, 2013

A pair of smokestacks that dominated the skyline between El Paso and  Juárez are no more.

They were iconic relics of an old copper smelter with a polemic past. 

At more than 800 feet, the tallest ASARCO smokestack towered higher than the Washington Monument and the St. Louis Arch. Saturday morning a demolition crew sent it crashing down. 

Hundreds of border residents rose before sunup to witness the fall. The demolition is part of a multi-year remediation plan of the former smelter site. ASARCO's history in El Paso is two-faced: known as a major economic powerhouse and a dangerous polluter. 

In a bankruptcy settlement four years ago ASARCO left some $2 billion dollars to clean up 80 sites around the country. The company still has operating plants in Arizona and Texas.