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Buildings topple in big urban demolition blast in China

Sunday May 22, 2005

Buildings topple in big urban demolition blast in China

HONG KONG (AP) - Buildings toppled like toy blocks in a southern Chinese city near the Hong Kong border Sunday, in what media said was the largest urban demolition blast ever to take place in China. 

The 16 buildings in the city of Shenzhen were rigged with a total of 684 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of explosives, Hong Kong media reported. 

Due to a slip-up, one of the buildings remained standing after the explosions. Hong Kong television station Cable TV reported it was only reduced to 12 stories from 14. Zhang Litong, an official who worked on the demolition, said that the building had not been rigged with enough explosives, and they had not been strategically placed. 

"We installed explosives on two floors. If we did it on three floors ... and if more explosives were placed on the eastern side of the building, the building would have fallen,'' Zhang said at a press conference. 

He said the rest of the building would be pulled down by bulldozers, Cable TV reported. The area cleared will be redeveloped as a commercial and residential area, Ming Pao Daily News reported. 

It was the largest-ever urban area cleared by a demolition blast in China, Ming Pao reported. 

The blast covered 51,000 square meters (570,000 square feet), surpassing the previous record of 43,000 square meters (48,000 square feet) set when a stadium was demolished in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 2002, the Ming Pao report said. People living in the immediate area of the blast site were evacuated, the Hong Kong government said. 

Scores of people watched the explosions from across the border in Hong Kong, some through a telescope.-AP 

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