Implosion of the San Diego Hotel taped from nearby balcony

Hundreds of people were lured out of bed early that day to watch the dramatic implosion of the 92-year-old Hotel San Diego.

The 7-story downtown landmark collapsed to rubble and dust about 8 a.m. in mere seconds after 358 pounds of explosives brought down the once-grand building.

Crowds began lining up outside a 500-foot safety zone some two hours in advance.

Beneath rainy skies, spectators of all ages cheered during the anticipated booms. Some videotaped the spectacle. Others clung to their memories as the hotel collapsed onto itself and giant billows of brown and orange dust filled the streets.

The hotel on Broadway, between Union and State streets, was built in 1914 by John D. Spreckels, who made his fortune in the sugar and shipping businesses.