‘Fire in the hole’: 6-year-old cancer patient pushes button to implode nursing school building

Originally published on The Des Moines Register’s website.

Joey Mausser had an important job Sunday morning. The 6-year-old Urbandale boy was in charge of pushing a button to implode a nearly 100-year-old Des Moines building.

“Fire in the hole,” Mausser’s 5-year-old brother, Nick, shouted as Mausser pushed the button to implode the Iowa Methodist School of Nursing building.

A series of loud booms rang in the air. The brothers, their family, hospital officials and construction crew members watched the building crumble to the ground.

The implosion began at about 7 a.m., and lasted about 18 seconds. The cloud of dust kicked up by the implosion lasted for about 20 minutes after.

The now demolished building used to house the Iowa Methodist School of Nursing.The last class of nurses graduated from the school in 1999.

After the school closed, the building was used mostly for office space, said Amy Varcoe, spokeswoman for UnityPoint Health.

The building was demolished to make room for UnityPoint Health to expand itsemergency services and critical care facilities, Varcoe said.

Mausser’s parents bid on the button-pushing opportunity in November at the Festival of Trees and Lights Gala. Mausser is a cancer patient at Blank Childrens Hospital.

Mausser smiled through his safety mask as the dust spread from the demolition site after the implosion.He had already imploded a building and the sun had yet to rise.

“After this, hopefully we’ll have a low-key day and just talk about it all,” said his mother, Kim Mausser.

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