VIDEO: Man survives after smokestack crashes over him during demolition

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015
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ABC's Kendis Gibson has the story of a demolition worker lucky to be alive after a smokestack fell on his excavator.

AVONDALE MILLS, Ala. -- An excavator operator is lucky to be alive after a smokestack scheduled for demolition crashed on top of him in Alabama.

Tim Phifer watched with others in Avondale Mills as the demolition of the city landmark failed. That is when he got inside his excavator and went to work.

Raw video of the tower falling:

"At that point, I had brick hanging. It was going to have to come down one way or another," he says.

Cameras were rolling as Phifer began digging at the base of the smokestack in an effort to bring it down. Suddenly, a shower of bricks rained down on the excavator as the tower collapsed.

Skybama captured video via drone showing the breathtaking and perilous moment.

Phifer says he was safer inside the cab of the excavator than outside, but that divine intervention saved his life.

"God blesses me," he says.