An unexploded, World War II-era bomb discovered at a building site in London Monday could’ve caused mass destruction.
Thankfully after a long, tense night, it has been made safe by military officials and removed, and residents of the Bethnal Green neighborhood in London allowed to return to their homes.
A local performer named Lady Celeste Luminary was roused from a relaxing afternoon by authorities “bashing in the door” around noon, The Independent reported.
“I grabbed my keys and we had to walk several blocks away heading east. I’m still in my pyjamas – heaven forbid. I’ve got my nails done though as I had a show last night. I’m slightly peckish and sitting outside with no purse. He explained there was an unexploded WW2 bomb behind our house found under some building renovations.”
She was one of 700 people evacuated from their east London homes to spend the night either with friends and family, or at a local school hall, as the military worked to diffuse the 500-pound explosive. Officials also set up a 650-foot exclusion zone, the BBC added.
Residents quickly snapped photos of the mayhem as authorities responded to the threat.
Locked out of our studio. Deadlines looming! Builders found a WW2 unexploded bomb. pic.twitter.com/6YH1BTm3bW— Ndu Wodu (@Ndu_Wodu) August 10, 2015
Just been evacuated due to an unexploded WW2 bomb today. Different pic.twitter.com/8wcPgHhPrU— Scott Grummett (@scottgrummett) August 10, 2015
The unexploded bomb was discovered in the cellar of a three-story building, which apparently wasn’t often frequented; it was found by contractors working on the building, an Army spokesman said.
“The bomb has been in the ground for more than 70 years but unlike a fine wine does not improve with age. It is potentially more dangerous today than the day it was made.”
Officials had to dig around it in order to neutralize the fuse; they used a chemical process called immunization to make the unexploded weapon safe. The hard task was handled by Army experts out of Essex, The Guardian added.
This isn’t the first time the city has come face to face with wartime weaponry. Two unexploded bombs were found — and also safely diffused — this year, one in March and the other May.
That’s no surprise, considering that during the Blitz, London was pummeled by thousands of bombs from September 1940 to May 1941, CNN added. That adds up to about 12,000 metric tons worth; 30,000 civilians were killed.
The BBC classified the one found Monday as German and said it was likely dropped by air.
Decades later, you can view the scope of the Blitz via the Bomb Sight Project, which reveals in exhaustive detail each one dropped on London, including the location.
[Photo Courtesy London Live Screngrab]