Residents Evacuated as Bomb Squad Collects WWII-Era Explosives Found in US Home
AP Photo/ Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department HandoutUS01:49 04.10.2017Get short URL
Dozens of residents were evacuated from their homes in Lawndale, California, Thursday after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies discovered a stockpile of military explosives in an abandoned home’s backyard.
Officers were first called to the scene after a concerned resident reported a suspicious car parked in front of their home. The munitions were found minutes later after deputies surveyed the area.
According to investigators, law enforcement officials found roughly 15 to 30 grenades, artillery shells, mortar rounds and bullets. Fearing some materials to be active, officers quickly forced about 100 people to vacate the surrounding homes.
“They told us, ‘Hey, there’s a bomb threat, you guys have to evacuate immediately. Pick up whatever you need, the most important things — medication, blankets — and just leave,'” Tony Bernaba, a local resident told ABC 7. “There’s something that could have gone off, we could have all been hurt and, you know, no one knew about it.”
After a bomb squad spent 14 hours analyzing the items, officials concluded that most of the devices were duds, but maintained the evacuation order as concerns were raised about a case of ammunition, the Air Force Times reported.
“It’s a tremendous danger,” McDonnell told AP. “You have one shell, and it can cause tremendous damage.”
The home was occupied by transients after the owner, who was a World War II veteran, died a few months ago, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement Friday.
Though investigators found additional pieces in the home’s shed, as of Friday afternoon, ABC 7 reported officials had cleared the home and lifted the evacuation orders.