Update: Evacuated residents allowed home hours after Dagenham bomb discovery
PUBLISHED: 14:01 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:05 16 July 2013
Evacuated residents allowed home around nine hours after remnants of a World War II bomb were discovered.
Remnants of the 50kg bomb, which police say landed in 1940, were found at about noon yesterday as workmen dug up Temple Avenue, Dagenham, for road resurfacing.
Police initially feared it could explode and ordered the evacuation of residents in Temple Avenue and adjoining junctions.
Bomb disposal officers from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), police, ambulance, council staff and the fire service attended.
An MOD spokesman said the remnants, which police said had been “smoking” and contained the highly reactive mineral phosphorous, were eventually removed and the area confirmed safe at around 9.30pm.
Earlier in the day the council set up a day rest centre at Heath Park Hall in Uvedale Road, Dagenham, and arranged alternative accommodation at hotels for 15 families.
An 86-year-old woman living in Temple Avenue, believed to be seriously ill, was taken to hospital.
Other residents stayed with friends and family and some returned home after the all-clear was given.
Resident Brenda Paycon said she left without locking up. “I got a knock on the door from an officer and she told me to pack my things. When they said explosive device I just took my keys and left. I thought it would be half an hour. If she’d said it would be a few hours I would have taken a few things with me and locked up.”
Teacher Christina Hannigan, 26, of Temple Avenue, said she stayed with a friend in Hertford. “I’ve had to take a day off work because all the things I needed for school were at home,” she said.
Pupils from nearby schools, All Saints and Robert Clack, were not evacuated but kept informed.
Chief Insp Richard Goodwin said: “This incident has clearly demonstrated that in times of need all agencies pull together to ensure that the public are safe and to minimise disruption and inconvenience to the community.”
The council organised bomb disposal contractors to scan other parts of Temple Avenue for explosive devices as a precaution.
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