Accident Reporting November 2015 - January 2016

November 10, 2015, Murcia (Spain)

‘’Two men, whose identities and ages were not provided, were seriously injured tuesday afternoon after an explosion while working in the old factory of Santa Barbara Javalí Viejo in Murcia, dedicated to the production of military explosives. Both were transferred to the Burns Unit of the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital for treatment. 112 received calls with a warning of the event at six in the afternoon. Those that gave notice explained that the two workers suffered from burns as a result of an explosion at the factory, which is now called Expal.’’

December 22, 2015, Sailly-en-Ostrevent (France)

A striking news item ‘’ The old battlefields are still alive – WWI shells explode underground in France – no one injured’’, appeared online last year, December 22. This concerned a spontaneous underground explosion of WWI shells resulting in a massive crater. Fortunately this happened in an remote area, no one got hurt!

Around 10 am, Saturday morning, the inhabitants of Sailly-en-Ostrevent heard a loud explosion. It was thought for a moment that it was a gas explosion but once experts had arrived on the scene, which was in the middle of a farmers field, they could see it was an underground explosion.

The blast occurred in a field along the D43 between Sailly-en-Ostrevent and Tortequesne in western Arrageois. Local residents said that the explosion shook the walls and roofs of their homes.

Firefighters quickly attended the scene to assess potential chemical risks. Perimeter security still prevents access to the site by the public. Bomb disposal experts are also on site to determine the exact nature of the explosion and explore all parts of the field for further potential risks. 100 meters away is a German bunker and it is believed the area is full of underground tunnels.

“Several shells exploded naturally around 10 hours,” said a police spokesman of Pas-de-Calais. This is “an underground explosion that caused a large crater six meters deep and ten meters in diameter.” The discovery of shells is “fairly standard” in this area because of the heavy shelling during the war.  “what is more rare is the natural explosion of a shell,” said the spokesman. The iron harvest seeks to prevent such things happening.

The iron harvest is the annual “harvest” of unexploded ordnance, barbed wire, shrapnel, bullets and congruent trench supports collected by Belgian and French farmers after ploughing their fields. The harvest generally applies to the material from World War I, which is still found in large quantities across the former Western Front.

On this website some more information can be found on the history of WWI munition in this area of France.

January 28, 2016, Mora (Cameroon)

‘’An ammunition dump exploded Wednesday in the town of Mora, in northern Cameroon . According to the Cameroonian government, no casualties were reported but the panic does not fall among the inhabitants of the Far North. Three suicide bombings took place in the region on Monday , killing at least thirty- two dead . Over thirty suicide attacks have occurred since the beginning of the raid, in 2013, by the Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram.

February 8, 2016, Arizona

‘’Hundreds of rounds of ammunition exploded during a Sunday morning house fire in the US state of Arizona, striking one firefighter in the face with a bullet. Gilbert Fire Department arrived at the scene to find a home’s garage and attic on fire. Neighbors reported hearing explosions as firefighters fought the flames. "All I heard was, 'Pop, pop, pop,' and (saw) billowing black smoke," a neighbor told KNXV-TV. Another neighbor said the explosions were “like microwave popcorn going off”.’’ 

‘’Hundreds of rounds of ammunition exploded, according to reports. A firefighter was hit in the face by a bullet, but his face mask prevented any serious injuries. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but officials believe an explosion might have occurred when the homeowner was loading gun cartridges sparking the blaze. Bullets from the fire have been found up to 300ft from the scene.’’