NEW ORLEANS — After days of delays, two cranes towering over the Hard Rock Hotel construction site were demolished by city crews Sunday afternoon. The pair of unstable construction cranes produced a large amount of debris.
It is unclear if the demolition went how the city intended for it to go. The situation is still fluid, and city officials are warning residents to stay inside.
Ed. Note: If you don't see the latest update, refresh this page.
Here's the latest info:
Watch the live camera here:
At least one window at the Roosevelt Hotel was blown out in the explosion. The full extent of the damage is not clear yet.
The temporary exclusion zone has been lifted for downtown New Orleans. The evacuation zone is still in effect.
The Saenger Theater and the New Orleans Athletic Club, two of the closest buildings to the collapse and two of the most vulnerable, were not damaged when the cranes fell, said New Orleans City Councilmember Jason Williams.
He also said the piece that impaled Rampart Street did not damage any utility lines.
"I think we got the best we could get here today. A lot of prayers went up, and a lot of prayers were answered," Williams said.
Photos: Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapses on Canal Street
You can watch the explosion from six different angles right here:
WWL-TV reporters on the scene are saying there are still pieces of debris hanging or falling from the Hard Rock Hotel construction site.
City officials have urged anybody in the area to get indoors and stay inside. The Temporary Exclusion Zone, designed to protect people from breathing in concrete powder or getting hearing damage, is still in effect until further notice, according to the city.
Residents as far away as Lakeview have reported hearing the explosion. City officials will likely brief reporters soon.
Here is video of the moment the explosive charges went off:
It appears some of the debris from one of the cranes is still hanging on the top of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site.
Another piece, from the crane further down Rampart Street, appears to have impaled itself into something below, either the ground or a building.
As the dust cloud begins to clear, it is unclear how close the demolition went to the city's plan.
The two cranes towering over the Hard Rock Hotel construction site have come down, as city demolitionists ignite charges on both cranes.
The two-minute warning sirens have gone off. The implosion appears imminent.
City officials believe the crane demolition will take place around 2 p.m.
Crews did several sweeps of the building to check its stability and to make sure nobody is inside when the explosives go off.
Reporters were told that the demolition was being pushed back by about 35 minutes to 1:30 p.m.
It is unclear what is causing the delays.
Workers can be seen inside the construction site, doing a last check before demolition. It appears the implosion of the cranes is happening soon, but is not immediate.
There's even more reason to avoid the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans this morning as we get closer to the demolition:
As New Orleans residents wait for the cranes to come down, the city is reminding anybody in the temporary exclusion zone to stay inside until further notice.
The demolition could blow up powdered concrete into the air, which is hazardous to breathe in.
It is also expected to be a loud event, and could cause hearing damage to anybody in the temporary exclusion zone who is not protected.
A mass was held for the brother of one of the victims of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse ahead of the planned demolition of two cranes in the construction site.
Evacuations have started around the Hard Rock Hotel site as crews prepare to demolish two cranes towering over the building.
The evacuation zone has grown since Saturday, and now includes a wide area where no vehicle traffic is being allowed.
Here's the latest evacuation map:
A cold front moving into New Orleans Monday is bringing a 70% chance of strong storms, undercutting how urgent the demolition of the two cranes embedded in the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site is.
Saturday, New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell told reporters that the crane had shifted in one direction again since his last update Friday, but had not shifted back. He said this indicated the cables holding the crane up above the construction site were weakening.
The demolition is planned for sometime Sunday afternoon, but city officials appear to be preparing to bring down the cranes earlier rather than later, urging residents to be prepared for evacuation orders sometime in the morning.
In an update from city officials, the temporary evacuation zone has been extended a few blocks in each direction. Everyone in the temporary evacuation zone must leave the area before the controlled demolition.
The temporary exclusion zone has also been extended, and people who are in that area are instructed to stay indoors. Vehicles and pedestrians will not be allowed on streets or outside of buildings. Rooftops in that area are also off limits.
A new hard traffic closure area has been added to prevent people being in harms way. No vehicles will be allowed to enter that area.
A larger temporary evacuation zone is being planned for Sunday's demolition, city officials said.
Evacuees will get a warning as crews go door-to-door four hours before they detonate the explosives on the two cranes over the Hard Rock Hotel site.
At the press conference, city officials denied asking hotel guests on Canal Street to evacuate, saying they were not responsible for any evacuation orders.
The crane demolition at the Hard Rock Hotel collapse has been pushed back to Sunday afternoon, city officials said.
New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said new info about the damage to the cranes led to the delay.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell told reporters she will not sign off on nighttime demolitions.
Residents who were told to evacuate from hotels on Canal Street are being allowed back to their rooms Saturday.
Watch the live press conference with the city, where they are expected to announce a demolition time for the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.
We're getting word of the first evacuations. Several hotels on Canal Street have already been evacuated.
Here's the full evacuation map:
People are gathering to watch the demolition. Crowds of people are walking along Canal Street just outside of the area blocked off by the city. It's unclear when they will be asked to stay away.
Crews can be seen working on equipment attached to the structure of one of the cranes.
No timeline for the demolition has been set yet.
The Krewe Of Boo parade, set for Saturday night near downtown New Orleans, has been canceled by the city as they prepare to demolish the two cranes over the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.
There is still no public timeframe for when the city plans to demolish the cranes embedded in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Friday that it would be done sometime after noon Saturday, but didn't give an estimate for exactly when.
Crews originally planned to bring down the cranes Friday, but weather delayed any action until Saturday. Crews are expected to set off the explosives before the sun goes down at 6:25 p.m., giving them a 6.5 hour window to work in.
WWL-TV has been covering the Hard Rock Hotel collapse since the building fell onto Rampart Street on Oct. 12, bringing live updates on the workers who were killed, the plan to demolish the building, information on how the building collapsed in the first place and all the latest information.
Our full coverage is available here: