Buildings suffer structural damage after controlled explosion of 1,000kg Nazi ‘Hermann bomb’ in Exeter

The detonation of a 1,000kg Nazi ‘Hermann bomb’ unearthed in Exeter has caused structural damage to some nearby buildings, police have revealed.

Thousands of evacuated residents have been told they cannot yet return home following the controlled explosion of the World War Two device in Glenthorne Road on Saturday evening.

Assessments of the area are continuing today.

Smashed windows and cracks in brickwork have been reported within a 100-metre radius of the blast.

Residents should not return to their homes until further notice…

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “Structural assessments of surrounding buildings have resumed this morning (Sunday 28 February) following the detonation of a suspected World War Two bomb on Glenthorne Road, Exeter, yesterday evening.

“Police and partner agencies, including Devon County Council and Exeter City Council and various utility companies, are working hard in the hope evacuated residents will be able to return home today.

“Residents should not return to their homes until further notice.

“The council helpline closed at midnight last night and will reopen from 9am until 5pm today for any evacuated residents needing support or advice: 0345 155 1015.

The controlled explosion in Exeter this evening. Image: Exeter City Council

The controlled explosion in Exeter this evening. Image: Exeter City Council

Exeter

Smoke from the explosion could be seen in Exwick.
Photo: Jolyon Holroyd Photography.

“The council has specified that the helpline is for residents who need help and support, and advisors will not be able to give information about damage to specific properties.

“The controlled detonation of the device, believed to be a 1,000kg ‘Hermann bomb’ used by the Nazis in the Second World War, took place at 6.10pm yesterday evening, Saturday 27 February.

“All 2,600 properties, including around 1,400 students from Exeter University halls of residences, within a 400-metre cordon, had been evacuated earlier in the day.

The World War Two bomb discovered on a building site in Exeter. Picture: Ministry of Defence

The World War Two bomb discovered on a building site in Exeter. Picture: Ministry of Defence

The World War Two bomb discovered on a building site in Exeter. Picture: Ministry of Defence

The World War Two bomb discovered on a building site in Exeter. Picture: Ministry of Defence

“Extensive work to mitigate the impact of the blast, including the laying of 400-tonnes of sand, the building of walls and the digging of trenches, was implemented by Royal Navy and Army bomb disposal experts.

“However, unfortunately structural damage has been caused to some buildings, primarily within the 100-metre cordon, including blown-out windows and cracks in brickwork.

“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.

“Updates will be published throughout the day.”

UPDATE: A police spokesperson added: “Extensive, multi-agency building assessment work is continuing this morning within the 400-metre cordon of the WW2 bomb detonation site on Glenthorne Road, Exeter.

“Every effort is being made to ensure the timely conclusion of the assessments in the hope some evacuated residents may be able to return home this evening.

“However, evacuated residents are advised to work on a worst-case scenario basis, that they will not be able to return home this evening.

“The council has confirmed that those already in hotel accommodation will be able to stay in their hotels tonight if necessary.

“The council helpline is open until 5pm today for any evacuated residents needing support or advice: 0345 155 1015.

“We are expecting to be able to issue an update with some clarity at around 3pm.”

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