El Paso, TX (KTSM) — Just days separate us from saying good-bye to ASARCO. The big demolition is scheduled for saturday.
It was a hot bed of action in El Paso from the 1940's to the 1970's.
Then in 1999, all work was stopped at the plant.
The history that lies between those years is bittersweet for many employees.
"I want to make my brother's death right, as right as I can," said former ASARCO employee, Carlos Rodriguez.
He worked there for 30 years and his brother worked there for even longer. His brother eventually died of leukemia, Carlos believes, because of the chemicals he was exposed to at ASARCO.
"It was quite an engine for El Paso," said site trustee Roberto Puga
The first smokestack was built in the late 1800's.
They were rebuilt in the 1960's to better disperse hot gasses that had chemicals in them from the smelting process
"Once we're done we would have removed a threat to human health and environment and allowed this property to be reused in a productive way," Puga said.
Three thousand people worked at the ASARCO smelter in it's heyday.
"It was a good company to work for," Rodriguez said. "The wages the benefits were good. It's just that they took that one last step and they poisoned us for profit".