ROBB DeCAMP Special to the Times
The smokestack that once towered over American Municipal Power's Richard H. Gorsuch Generating Station along Ohio 7 between Marietta and Belpre came tumbling down into a pile of rubble after demolition crews used explosives to drop the structure Saturday morning. The highway was closed to traffic for approximately one-half hour as a precaution to protect passing vehicles from any potential damage. Demolition of the stack represented the final step in the once-busy coal-fired generating facility. AMP closed the 1950s-era facility Dec. 15, 2010, as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department, who had filed suit against the plant in April 2009 for violation of the Clean Air Act. At the time of its closing, the plant employed about 80 full-time workers, some of whom were on hand to watch the smokestack demolition.