WWII-era bomb detonation leaves some England residents locked out

By Christoph Meyer, dpa

Hundreds of residents of the English city of Exeter are wondering if they’ll be able to get back into their homes on Sunday after a “significant” blast during a controlled detonation of a World War II-era bomb left multiple structures damaged.

The Saturday destruction of the bomb threw debris up to 250 metres away and left a crater about the size of a double-decker bus. According to local media reports, the blast could be heard kilometres away.

Images and videos released after the detonation showed a giant grey and brown cloud rising towards the sky.

But more troubling to authorities was the potential damage to homes within about 100 metres of the detonation site, with reports of shattered windows and cracked brickwork. Inspectors had to make sure there was no dangerous structural damage before residents could return.

Keeping people outside of their homes is also a challenge during a pandemic, during which people are being told to stay home to avoid unnecessary contacts with the easily transmitted coronavirus.

“Every effort is being made this morning to ensure structural assessments are conducted as soon as possible so that residents can return home later today,” said a spokesperson with the spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police.

Police said the ordnance weighed 1,000 kilograms and was known during the war as a “Hermann bomb,” a slam on Hermann Goering, the head of Nazi Germany’s air force, who critics say had the same chunky dimensions as the bomb.

The discovery of wartime bombs is not that unusual in Britain, since German forces launched many air raids against the country during the war.

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