Exeter WWII bomb blast was so powerful it blew out windows of homes nearby and sent debris flying hundreds of metres as thousands assess damage
- World War II bomb was detonated on Saturday night by the Royal Logistics Corp
- The controlled explosion was heard up to 10 miles away by some residents
- Around 2,600 properties in vicinity, including 1,400 students, were evacuated
- Some locals who have returned to homes have revealed the destruction caused
Thousands of evacuated residents have been left assessing the damage to their homes following the detonation of a World War II bomb in a blast that left a crater the size of a double-decker bus and was heard 10 miles away.
More than 2,600 people had to be flee before the controlled explosion of a recently unearthed Nazi ‘Hermann bomb’ in Exeter, Devon on Saturday evening.
A 400-yard cordon was put in place with 1,400 university students among those evacuated.
When the bomb was detonated a huge cloud of dust was shot into the sky above – leaving several nearby homes with structural damage.
Some locals who have been allowed back to their homes are now assessing the scale of the destruction, which includes smashed windows and broken walls.
One local revealed how his windows were blown out and garage door warped by the explosion
A number of properties ‘predominantly’ within the 100m-zone ‘suffered structural damage, including broken windows and cracked walls’, according to police
Locals took to social media to comment after video footage emerged showing the scale of the explosion
Most residents were able to return home shortly after the blast, except those who lived within the tighter 100m exclusion zone.
Police said the blast left a crater about the size of a double-decker bus and said debris had been thrown at least 250m away.
A number of properties ‘predominantly’ within the 100m-zone ‘suffered structural damage, including broken windows and cracked walls’, according to police.
A spokesperson added: ‘Debris, including large metal objects, were thrown in the blast, some of which landed on nearby roofs, which require the use of a crane to remove.’
Locals took to social media to comment after video footage emerged showing the scale of the explosion.
Andy Gabbott said: ‘Doesn’t sound much like it was controlled to me.’
And Wade Payne added: ‘Could of used a smaller charge than what they used. Bet the army would have done it differently.
But Dawn Clements added: ‘At least no one got hurt and everyone was put in a hotel till everything was safe.’
Exeter World War II bomb damage. Photographs have emerged from the centre of bomb scene
Devon and Cornwall Police added that ‘extensive and crucial’ safety assessment work had been ongoing since the detonation
Police said the blast left a crater about the size of a double-decker bus and said debris had been thrown at least 250m away
Devon and Cornwall Police added that ‘extensive and crucial’ safety assessment work had been ongoing since the detonation.
A spokesperson said: ‘This included the use of a crane to remove large pieces of metal, which had formed part of the Ministry of Defence’s mitigation structure surrounding the bomb, from nearby roofs.
‘Fencing has been erected around the 100-metre exclusion zone which includes Glenthorne Road – where the bomb was located – Cowley View, Jefford House and Charleston House.
‘Exeter City Council is making direct contact with residents who live within the exclusion zone and cannot return home.’
People reported hearing the explosion as many as six miles away after its detonation at about 6.15pm.
Sharing a video of the explosion, Exeter University tweeted: ‘So here’s what all the fuss was about!!
‘Thank you so much to @ExeterCouncil for this amazing clip and of course to @DC_Police @BritishArmy and all the other agencies involved in this huge project to keep us all safe. #exeterbomb.’
Several people caught the moment of the explosion on camera and shared the footage on social media
People living up to 10 miles away from the explosion reported hearing the massive blast last night
One person said on Twitter: ‘It shook me over six miles away! Thought another large tree branch had fallen on my house.’
Another said: ‘Something I thought I’d never see or hear.
‘A #WW2 #bomb detonating in glenthorpe road, #exeter. I was in #belvederefields, about 350m and could still see the plume from the explosion. Amazing.’
And another user said: ‘Well, that explosion of the #exeter UXB was loud!
‘Windows still rattling. Hope everyone safe, and the @UniofExeter students & residents evacuated can get home soon.’
Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted: ‘This is the moment a WW2 bomb was detonated in #Exeter.
‘We would like to thank the residents of Exeter, particularly the 2,600 evacuated households and our partner agencies who have worked so hard to ensure the safety of all.’
The device, dating back to the Second World War, was detonated at about 6.15pm today
A 400 metre cordon was put up ahead of the controlled explosion in Exeter this evening
Drew Parkinson, area commander for South Devon & South-East Cornwall Coastguard, added: ‘After a very long 24 hours for HM Coastguard assisting @DC_Police in Exeter, a controlled explosion has now taken place.’
It is believed people asked to leave their homes ahead of the explosion will be able to return this evening now the device has been dealt with.
The device, described as around eight feet long and 27 inches across, was found on a building site on private land to the west of the University of Exeter campus.
The Royal Navy bomb disposal team worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure before the examination and detonation of the device was passed to experts at the Army’s Royal Logistics Corps.
Earlier a Royal Navy spokesperson said that, as of 1.30pm, 300 tonnes of sand had been delivered to the site of the bomb to assist with the safe detonation of the bomb.
It is understood that the huge amount of sand was being used to build a bunker around the device to protect it.
Properties were evacuated for the examination of the device (pictured above), which was located at a site on Glenthorne Road near Exeter University on Friday morning
Earlier students and residents who live within a 400-yard cordon were evacuated by the local emergency services after the discovery of an unexploded World War Two bomb
Hundreds of people have been taken to Exeter’s historic quayside to enjoy the sun while they are evacuated from their halls due to the unexploded World War Two bomb
A handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence on Saturday of the unexploded bomb which was found near university halls in Exeter
Police, fire services, coastguards and 4X4 response teams, along with the local council, were knocking on doors and halls of residence around the city centre
Students were moved to hotels and vacant university residences.
The evacuations were at the request of the Royal Navy bomb disposal team, who worked through the night to establish a walled mitigation structure.
Around 200 students were vacated by emergency services from one of the university halls, alongside a nearby care home and residents.
Speaking about the operation, a police spokesperson said: ‘Around 400-tonnes of sand was transported to the site of the device, which is at a building site on private land, and walls were erected, initially by the Royal Navy bomb disposal experts, followed by Army personnel from the Royal Logistics Corps, to mitigate the impact of the detonation.
‘Trenches were also dug to prevent ground shock.
‘Despite these mitigation measures, the impact of the blast has been significant and debris has been thrown at least 250-metres away. The crater is around the size of a double decker bus.
‘People can be reassured that there are no concerns regarding the impact of the explosion, which caused a large plume of sand, on public health.
‘Safety assessments are being conducted this evening and utility companies, including gas, electric and water, are also carrying out assessments.’
It had previously been expected that residents, the majority of whom are staying with friends and family, would be able to return home on Saturday.
Devon County Council confirmed that visiting friends and family was allowed in such circumstances, despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Exeter University asked students not to return to their residences on Saturday to allow safety assessments to be conducted.
One student, Fran Henderson, 18, was told to pack at 7pm on Friday before being taken to a hotel outside of Exeter at 1am on Saturday.
The politics, philosophy and economics student told the PA news agency that she had been informed it was ‘most likely’ that she would be able to return to her student residence on Sunday.
‘The site is about 120 metres away from our accommodation,’ Ms Henderson said.
Superintendent Antony Hart, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: ‘We would like to thank all members of the public who have been affected by this incident, particularly residents who have been compliant in evacuating.
‘We understand the disruption caused and appreciate everyone’s patience.’
Source: Read Full Article