Tropical Storm Eta Unearthed A Live WWII Bomb In FL And Residents Refused Evacuation

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I’ll be honest, Tropical Storm Eta was worse than I expected. I’m pretty jaded towards tropical storms and hurricanes. They’re always headed straight for my house in Florida and turn away just after we go through exhausting preparation. With Tropical Storm Eta, we were getting pounded all day yesterday and a lot of friends and family lost power at their homes and their homes suffered damage. I thought this was just going to be another big rainstorm and I was wrong.

On the other side of the state, a 911 dispatcher received a call from a beachgoer who found what appeared to be the “tip of a rocket” that turned out to be 3-foot-long live ordnance with an active fuse (likely) leftover from World War II. According to TC Palm, the area ‘roughly three miles north’ of Round Island Beach Park was once a WWII Training Area called Fort Pierce Naval Amphibious Training Base and it’s not uncommon for a powerful storm to unearth leftover bombs like this.

What’s wild to me is that once the bomb squad was called in and the local residents were told to evacuate by authorities several of the residents declined to leave and said they understood the consequences. Meaning, they said ‘we get that you’re defusing an active bomb next to our house but we’re good and we’re going to chill right here.’

Here’s the Treasure Coast Palm report from Corey Arwood:

A fire rescue hazardous material crew decided an explosive ordnance disposal team was needed, a fire official said.
Battalion Chief Roger Dion said the device was located about 60 yards north of the Ocean Ridge Circle neighborhood, and required the evacuation of about six homes.
Deputies began asking nearby residents to evacuate at 10 a.m., according to Indian River County Sheriff’s Office records.
Some Ocean Ridge Circle residents refused to evacuate and told authorities they understood the potential consequences of not leaving their homes as the device was being removed, a report said.
The Air Force team arrived at 11:53 a.m. and removed the munition by 1:12 p.m.
Dion said they dug around the ordnance and separated the fuse before placing each part in a different container for the ride back to Brevard County. (via)

If the bomb squad ever knocks on your door and tells you they’ve found a live WWII bomb just a few yards away from your house and want you to vacate until they’ve removed it then it’s probably best to listen. Sure, this incident ended fine for all the parties involved but what if it didn’t? What if that bomb went off and they ended up in the newspaper as ‘WWII bomb explodes and demolishes homes of residents who refused to go outside for an hour’.

Large portions of Florida’s East Coast were used for training in WWII. The area between Vero Beach and Jensen Beach was a training ground ahead of D-Day. That area mentioned above used to be a Naval Demolition Research Area. And we’ll only find more live bombs in the coming years as powerful hurricanes come through and blow away the sand. If you’re ever out there and happen to find a rocket you’re advised to step back and immediately call 911.