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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May, 2004, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Old tower blocks tumble
Demolition of the first tower
The first tower falls to the ground in less than five seconds.
Demolition teams have blown up two tower blocks of flats in south Wales - with a charity set to benefit.

Residents have been rehoused from the 1960s council flats at Hirwaun near Aberdare, which have become increasingly expensive to maintain.

Winners of a prize draw, with money raised for Macmillan Cancer Relief, "pushed the plunger" to blow up the buildings at 1200 BST on Sunday.

The last few tenants moved out of the 193 flats in January.

A total of 50kg of explosives were used to demolish the 12-storey blocks.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council offered the chance for the public to help blow up the building by organising a prize draw,

The money raised will go towards a 750,000 appeal for a new cancer care unit at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr.

The second tower is demolished
The detonation sends the second tower crumbling straight after the first one.

Sue Gilby, the council's head of community housing, said: "This is a great cause and we hope bringing down one landmark will help to create another much needed one for residents in the area."

Each block produced an estimated 7,000 tonnes of rubble per block when it fell.

Explosives expert Mick Williams, from contractors Controlled Demoltion, said: "We designed the collapse mechanism so that the towers fell on a slight tilt, towards each other and away from the local properties."

Tower rubble
What was left of the towers - some of the 7,000 tonnes of rubble.
The work was made more difficult because the site was close to a block of garages and a care home either side.

Residents voted to be rehoused after a consultation period last year.

It has not yet been decided what the site will be used for after the demolition, but local people will be consulted about what was needed in terms of housing and social facilities.

Council chief executive Kim Ryley joined dozens of onlookers at a safe distance at a local school to watch the demolition.

He said: "It was a very popular decision to get rid of what was an eyesore on the landscape for some time.

"It's also symbolic - getting rid of the old and bringing something new, fresh and better."


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