Evacuated Exeter residents have been told not to return home this evening (Saturday, February 27) after the controlled explosion of a World War Two bomb.
The detonation of the 8ft device – unearthed on a building site in Glenthorne Road – has left a crater ‘the size of a double-decker bus’.
Police say the impact of the blast has been ‘significant’ and a 400-metre cordon must remain in place ‘until further notice’.
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Debris has been blown at least 250 metres from the site.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “The controlled detonation of a suspected World War Two bomb unearthed near Exeter University yesterday occurred at 6.10pm this evening.
“The safety of people continues to be paramount.
“Upwards of 2,600 properties in the Glenthorne Road area, where the device was located, were evacuated by 10.30am this morning.
“The 400-metre cordon will remain until further notice, so residents should not return home this evening.
“Devon County Council and Exeter Council have been working to support evacuated residents.
“Any local residents who are worried or concerned can phone Devon County Council on 0345 1551015 for advice on accommodation and other support.
“The line will be open until midnight this evening, Saturday 27 February.
“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.”