SKOWHEGAN — Before their lunch break Saturday, the crew of McCarthy Enterprises had reduced three vacant downtown buildings to rubble.

Early Saturday afternoon, one wall remained — and it was about 24 inches from the exterior wall of Suzy Nails on Madison Avenue.

“Everything came down pretty much as we thought it would. If anything would have gone wrong there would have been no secrets,” said Tom McCarthy, owner of McCarthy Enterprises of Skowhegan, with a laugh. “We’re where I’d hoped to be.”

The first of the buildings, which were built in the 1800s, was brought down about 8:30 a.m. Another came down around 10 a.m. and the last of the three fell at about 11 a.m.

Early afternoon, Bruce Obert of Obert & Sons deftly maneuvered a John Deere 200 excavator and swiftly scooped up wood, glass and bricks and deposited them into the back of a tractor-trailer dumptruck from Sam’s Transportation of Georgetown, Mass.

McCarthy estimated that 12 to 20 loads, each with 10 to 15 tons of debris, would be removed from the demolition site at the corner of Madison Avenue and Commercial Street and taken to Crossroads Landfill, operated by Waste Management in Norridgewock.

McCarthy said the 12 or so members of his crew would start work around 8 a.m. today and likely have the site backfilled with sand and loam by tonight.

During the past couple of weeks, the buildings had been stripped of salvageable items and asbestos was removed Friday, McCarthy said.

“I don’t think people were aware of how bad the buildings had deteriorated and how they had been allowed to fall apart,” he said. “Those three-story buildings had little to no insulation and they were rat-infested.”

A musty smell wafted from the basement where Skowhegan Electronics was once located and a television and a spool of wire were among the contents in the basement, which by Saturday afternoon was buried beneath a 10-foot pile of rubble.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said William Burkhart, of Skowhegan. “They’ve been an eyesore for a long time.”

Burkhart, 72, said he’d lived all but four years of his life in Skowhegan. When he was a child, a music store and liquor store operated out of the buildings, he said.

The liquor store had a green front and people used to say that Dr. Green lived there, he said with a laugh.

Now the town will see a new green there — a park will take the place of the demolished buildings.

Burkhart liked the idea. “It will be nice to see grass growing in there and maybe some park benches and new lighting.”

Beth Staples — 861-9252

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