Guam – Guam Civil Defense sounded the all clear about 2:15 pm Wednesday afternoon after EOD technitions safely defused a 350 pound World War II “depth” bomb.
The bomb was uncovered by a Sumatomo backhoe worker about 8:50 am this morning at the construction site of the new Nambo Insurance Building in downtown Hagatna.
The construction site is located at the north-east corner of the intersection of Route 4 and West O’Brien Drive.
[Caption: Navy EOD technicians examine WW II “depth” bomb before defusing it]
The Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit [EOD] was called to the scene, along with Guam Police, Guam Fire and Guam Civil Defense.
At the scene, before defusing, EOD Chief Eric Van Gogh told PNC News that a fuse was still attached to the unexploded bomb and they decided to de-fused it in place and then transport it for safe detonation elsewhere.
That prompted a widespread evacuation across downtown Haganta that effected the DNA Building, the Bank of Guam, the Agana Shopping Center, the Flores Library, the Judicial Center, The Academy and other businesses including a Mobil gas station next store which has a 9-thousand gallon underground gasoline tank on site.
Roads were also shut down including West O’Brien Drive from Route 4 west to San Ramon Hill and Triangle Park; and east to Route 8; as well as north from the O’Brien-and- Route 4 intersection to Marine Corp Drive and south from the same intersection to the McDonalds on Route 4.
The potential danger also prompted EOD to order a mandatory evacuation within a radius of 2,500 feet around the bomb.
Guam Civil Defense, police and fire officials went to buildings in the area to order the evacuation. Civil Defense Spokeswoman Leslie Leon Guerrero said that the order was enforceable for government employees but private business, while strongly urged to evacuate could not be forced to leave their buildings.
Guam Police began opening up the roadways about 2:20 Wednesday afternoon, after a more than 5 hour shutdown.
[Corner of Route 4 & West O’Brien Drive 11 am Wednesday morning .. Nanbo Insurance construction site where bomb was found in background]
Chief Van Gogh speculated that the device was probably dropped from a plane and has laid dormant for nearly 66 years.He said the bomb is similar to a depth charge used to attack submarines during WW II, but this one was designed to be dropped from a plane.
The EOD had to wait for clearance from the FAA because the bomb lay under the flight path to the airport.