I am a one-trick-pony. My only discernible talent is the ability to spout streams of words in a roughly grammatical order, 10 hours a day, six days a week. Thankfully, this unexceptional talent earns me a living. Equally thankfully, it has never let me down. Until now.
In the immediate aftermath of the tragic events at Didcot A power station earlier this week, I simply don’t have the words: not in a trite, Hollywood “I don’t know what to say” way; but in a “my vocabulary is not sufficiently broad nor deep enough to convey all that needs to be conveyed” way.
I do not have the words to offer solace to the families of the men injured and killed, and I do not have the words to provide them with comfort as an increasingly frustrating search and rescue operation continues.
I do not have the words to express my admiration for the demolition workers at the power station that bravely and selflessly tried to help their fallen friends and colleagues.
I do not have the words to express my gratitude to the search and rescue teams, the ambulance service, local hospital and police force that rallied to the aid of injured demolition workers.
I do not have the words to express my gratitude to the volunteers that kept rescuers and demolition workers fed and hydrated around the clock while the search was ongoing. I do not have the words to express my dismay that rescue teams must rely upon the good auspices of local people for food and water while they are attempting to save lives.
I do not have the words to portray the incredible outpouring of kinship and solidarity among demolition companies here and across the world that have inundated the DemolitionNews offices with emails, text messages and phone calls of condolence.
I do not have the words to express my pride at the demolition workers, demolition company owners, equipment manufacturers and other allied people that have set aside traditional rivalries and allegiances and taken to social media in support of Coleman and Company and of demolition in general.
I do not have the words to describe the sheer magnitude of the carnage that greeted rescue workers; the mountains of twisted steel against which orange-suited rescue teams look like so many ants faced with an insurmountable task.
I do not have the words to describe the haunted look of palpable sorrow in the eyes of NFDC CEO Howard Button as he attempted to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible on Sky News.
I do not have the words to describe my anger and frustration at media attempts to appoint blame while the search and rescue teams were still hard at work; to point fingers while demolition workers remained trapped.
I do not have the words to describe my feelings towards those people that have crawled out from under a stone to offer their uneducated “this was an accident waiting to happen” pronouncements. I do not have the words to describe my feelings towards that ill-spirited few non-industry people that were suddenly imbued with structural engineering experience and demolition expertise and who sought their 15 minutes of fame with their baseless “I could have predicted this nightmare scenario” comments.
I am, quite literally, out of words. So DemolitionNews is going to fall temporarily silent: partly out of respect for those injured and killed in this tragedy; partly because reporting of ongoing demolition projects currently feels like a betrayal of those effected by that tragedy; but mainly because I do not have the words.
Likewise, our weekly This Week in Demolition missive of vitriol, video and “isn’t Johnny Foreigner terrible at demolition” tales will merely be a repeat of the above article.
For now, at least, I just don’t have the words.