Demolition Blast Levels 16 Chinese Buildings

Sixteen buildings toppled in a southern Chinese city near the Hong Kong (search) border in what state media said was the largest urban demolition blast ever in China.

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

However, one building remained standing after Sunday's 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 the building had not been rigged with enough explosives, and they were not been strategically placed.

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, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The blast covered about 570,000 square feet, surpassing the previous record of 444,000 square feet set when a stadium was demolished in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 2002, Xinhua reported.

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.