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An executive with Adamo Group, the company that was awarded the demolition contract, told the Detroit Free Press that explosives set in key locations around the stadium's upper levels didn't detonate because of a "wiring" issue.
"There's wires separated somewhere," said the executive, Rick Cuppetilli. "We've researched it, we haven't found it yet, we're going to continue research, but it's not coming down today."
Seating 82,000, the Silverdome was once the largest stadium in the National Football League. The Lions played there from its opening, in 1975, until 2001. The Pistons called the stadium home from 1978 to 1988.
The crumbling stadium had been used only occasionally since the Lions moved to a new facility.
Tim Wallace, a 55-year-old observer recording the attempted demolition on Sunday, summed up his disappointment to the Detroit News this way:
"You've got to be kidding me?" he said. "That's it?"
"Kidding" wasn't the actual word he used.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.