Towers gone in seconds after dominating the skyline for 40 years

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In a cloud of smoke and with a thunderous blast, three historic towers were demolished yesterday after dominating a town’s skyline for more than four decades.

The three southern towers of Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire were brought down by more than 180kg of explosives in a matter of seconds.

Hundreds of locals are thought to have defied the guidance issued by power company RWE npower to stay away from the site and watch the demolition via a webcam livestream.

The decision to demolish the towers in the early hours of the morning angered some locals, with a petition to change the timing gaining more than 3,000 signatures. The town council had also expressed its disappointment but npower said the timeslot between 3am and 5am had been chosen on health and safety grounds, taking into account the risk of people getting too close to the explosion, and the impact of the dust cloud on local roads and a nearby rail line.

Warning sirens were sounded 15 and then 10 minutes before the explosion at 5am.

During the build-up to the explosion #DidcotDemolition was trending on Twitter, and one Oxfordshire resident said: “This has gotta be Didcot’s most momentous occasion since we won the FA vase”.

As many as 1,500 people gathered at nearby Wittenham Clumps to watch the action unfold, the Oxford Mail reported.For those who chose to watch the demolition online there were some technological gripes.

The coal-fired power station ceased generating in March last year 970, with the neighbouring gas-fired Didcot B continuing.