N.C. Demolition Co. Helps Demolish Casinos That Helped Build Miss.
Posted September 20, 2005 6:57 a.m. EDT
BILOXI, Miss. — To truly understand the force of a hurricane, all you have to do is look at what it can do to a massive structure such as the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
The casino was eight days from opening when Katrina took a 400-foot long, 200-foot wide chunk of the building and dumped it into the Gulf of Mexico.
Casinos revitalized Biloxi, now tens of thousands of people are without work because they are out of business.
David Griffin's family-owned demolition business out of Greensboro is taking down the wreckage of the Hard Rock Casino, as well as several other casinos on the Mississippi coast.
The D. H. Griffin Wrecking Co., also helped demolish the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.
Griffin says because no one died in the casinos, the job itself is less emotional than the work his company did in New York, but much more time-consuming.
"The destruction is worse," Griffin said. "Nine-eleven was confined to 10 blocks. Terrible, but here, you've got destruction for 30, 40 miles."
The section of the Hard Rock that Griffin's company is removing rests on two barges, which makes the job very tricky.
"It's kind of like playing Jenga," Griffin said. "Except this is not on your kitchen table, you're over water and it's just a dangerous project."
Griffin says it will take hundreds of companies like his months to clean up areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. His company currently has 100 workers in the area and intends to double that number soon. He expects the Hard Rock project to take at least six months.
Local contractors in the Biloxi area, such as W. C. Fore, are helping Griffin's company in the cleanup effort.
"It's disappointing to see all this and to see the quality of our life sink so low," Fore said. "It's very disappointing."
Fore believes it will be three to five years before the local economy in Biloxi can thrive again.
"Certainly, we're hopeful it will come back," Fore said. "We have no place to go. I was born and raised in this county, area. I have no place to go but here."