Accidents April – July 2013
29 March 2013 - Thailand
Bang Saray. Naval ordnance experts were summoned when an unexploded Second World War hand grenade was discovered at a Bang Saray construction site. Maj. Sorasak Rakthrong of the Royal Thai Navy’s bomb disposal squad led a team of sailors to remove the MK 2 fragmentation grenade from the construction site of an hotel in Huay-tu on March 29. No one was injured. The grenade, phased out of use by the US military in the 1950s, had its pin pulled, but had failed to go off. Officers cordoned off the area until the bomb could be defused and secured.
Construction manager Wuthirattapakorn Kaewkhuang said he discovered the explosive at the edge of the site during a routine inspection. Police believe a troublemaking youth may have thrown the bomb, and speculated there was no intent to harm anyone, as the area was deserted. Naval officers, meanwhile, will try to determine how such old munitions ended up in circulation.
3 April 2013 - Germany
Berlin. The discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb near Berlin’s main railway station disrupted the morning commute for thousands of workers. Specialists were called in to decide whether to remove or disarm the 100kg (220-pound) device. The bomb was found by munitions experts conducting a routine search of a site in preparation of construction work.
Rail operator Deutsche Bahn later said some inter-city trains were expected to be redirected or stopped for two hours from 10:00 to noon, but local city trains were not likely to be affected. Authorities had yet to decide whether to defuse the 100-kilogram bomb on site, opt for a controlled detonation, or remove it.
Unexploded bombs from the Allied bombardment of Germany during the Second World War are still frequently found. The munitions are becoming more difficult and dangerous to defuse because their fuse mechanisms have corroded and become less stable over time. Bomb disposal experts have been warning that bombs will increasingly have to be exploded where they are found because moving them has become too risky. At least two such controlled explosions took place last year, in Munich [HInt 12-08b, 120827-13.] and Viersen, [HInt 12-09b, 120917-08.] causing damage to surrounding buildings.
6 April 2013 - Italy
Province of Udine, Osoppo municipality. An explosive device from the Second World War was found at the foot of the hill of the fortress via Porto Carantanian, removed and blown up in the bed of the Tagliamento river, and everything went according to plan.
The core team of EOD specialists, led by Colonel Stefano Venuti of the Third Regiment Guastatori acted at the scene of the detonation, while and another fifty members of the Army, Police, Civil Defence (present with men from nine teams of the municipality of Gemona), public health of Ass3, the Red Cross, and fire-fighters followed the operations and coordinated the evacuation of 400 families from the logistics base located at the headquarters of Civil Protection.
The operations team started at 08:30 with the first intervention by harnessing the bomb, which was then placed in a specially made hole dug next to the local authority. The riskiest part of the intervention was finished so much ahead of schedule that the bomb was ready at 11:15 and the alarm to citizens was cancelled. Subsequently, the device was to Tagliamento and blown up with dynamite inside of a hole at 13:45. At the same time, a bomb dating back to the First World War, weighing about 16 kg, was found on the banks of the Tagliamento by Venzone police, following a tip-off by a citizen.
8 April 2013 - Sri Lanka
Jaffna, Muhamalai. A local de-miner was killed following a mine explosion in Jaffna. The de-miner, who works for the UK-based HALO Trust NGO, was clearing mines in Muhamalai when the explosion occurred.
HALO’s de-mining teams work alongside Sri Lankan Army’s de-mining teams in former battle zones of the island’s three-decade long civil war that claimed nearly 100,000 lives. This work is focused on over 500 mainly high-density minefields and former battlefields of the war that ended in 2009 with Sri Lankan forces defeating the LTTE. FSD, another de-mining organisation from Switzerland, recently said their work had been hampered by cutting of financial contributions by international donors. More than 5,000 square kilometres of land in the north and east is suspected to be heavily mined by the LTTE during the conflict.
9 April 2013 - Nepal
Police territory. Various stores of police equipment, including riot control uniforms, were damaged when gelignite detonated in the District Police Office at Kaski. No one was killed. The gelignite was stored in a tin-roofed hut in the west part of the police office. The explosion completely damaged the hut, and some 12 window panes of the office of the Pokhara Industry and Commerce Association were smashed.
Police said the explosives were collected during the Maoist insurgency, and had been stored at that hut for long time. Kaski Rabindra Nath Paudel, a spokes at the District Police Office, said that a [pipe] bomb exploded at first and triggered two other explosions. A team of Nepal Army deployed from the Fulbari-based Gorakh Battalion was investigating the incident.
10 April 2013 - France
Aisne (02), Cappy. Two men from the EOD centre in Amiens, aided by a colleague from Laon (Aisne), were called by the town hall of Cappy to investigate reports of munitions in the communal pond. The men spent four hours a day diving alongside the D197 road. To date, they had recovered over a tonne of shells dating from the First World War.
According to Michel Colling, deputy head of the Amiens bomb disposal centre, said: “These munitions appeared after the passage of a herd of wild boar. The animals came out of the neighbouring forest and crossed this arm of the River Somme. In climbing up the bank, their weight made the soil crumble and the shells appeared. The trained eyes of the experts identified them as weapons of the First World War, of several nationalities and calibres. Depending on their size, they were transported in a bucket pulled by a zip line, or placed on floats. Even though the EOD centre is called out several times a year, the amount of munitions recovered in this case was exceptional. M. Colling said the shells were well preserved because “in the mud there is no oxygen – hence no corrosion”. The munitions were removed in sand-filled boxes and taken to an Army camp at Sissonne (Aisne) for destruction.
11 April 2013 - India
North Kashmir, Kupwara district, Handwara.
An Army [private] was killed and five others were injured when a grenade accidentally exploded inside their camp in Kupwara district of north Kashmir.
A defence spokesman said the incident took place at the camp of 21 Rashtriya Rifles in Handwara, as the troops were preparing to leave for an anti-militant operation. He said a grenade, being carried by a soldier, exploded accidentally resulting in critical injuries to him and five other soldiers. The injured men were rushed to nearby military hospital at Drugmulla where one of them was declared brought dead, while two others were referred to 92 Base hospital for specialised treatment.
11 April 2013 - Mexico
Morelos state, Yautepec city. The explosion of a stock of dynamite, which was stored inside the “Trituradora Campo Grande”, left a toll of six houses damaged and several farm animals injured and killed, among them a cow, a donkey, a goat, and a cat.
The incident occurred around 15:00, when, according to reports Yautepec municipal authorities, Ricardo Carrillo, owner of the ”Trituradora Campo Grande”, exploded the dynamite, which provoked the angry neighbours to claim that it affected their properties and assets.
According to early reports, the explosion damaged the homes of about six neighbours located within about three hundred metres radius of where the “Trituradora Campo Grande” is located, causing fences to fall and walls to crack, and the death of some of their animals, and others were injured. Given this, the residents concerned immediately urged Ricardo Carrillo for payment of damages caused by the explosion of dynamite, who they claim, wrongly kept it on the premises, putting the neighbourhood at risk.
11 April 2013 - USA
MD, Sharpsburg. A Sharpsburg resident found an unexploded Union army shell while planting some trees in his garden. He told local media: “It looked like a torpedo without the fins. I said, ‘Oh my Lord, there’s another one.’” The man’s home is about a mile from the Antietam National Battlefield, site of the bloodiest single-day battle of the entire Civil War.
After examining the shell the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s office determined that it had not been fired, and that the fusing mechanism was still intact. He called the Washington County Sheriff’s office, which in turn called in US Army bomb disposal technicians from Fort Belvoir, who then took the shell to a nearby field and set it off.
13 April 2013 - Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar/Pekhawar. A portion of the Badaber Police Station and four nearby houses were destroyed while 15 vehicles were damaged when explosives in the police arms depot accidentally went off. Senior police officers said explosives recovered from different areas were kept in the armoury that went off after fire erupted due to short-circuiting.
According to police control, the explosion occurred in the warehouse of the police station, where seized explosive materials and weapons were stored. Police and rescue teams rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. Bomb Disposal Unit and law enforcers collected evidence from the site to ascertain real cause of the blast.
On April 15, it was noted that there are no proper arrangements for keeping seized explosives at police stations; that is why it caused destruction in Badaber Police Station. Explosives went off in the Badaber Police Station after fire erupted in the store due to short circuiting. The fire triggered the explosives, which had been seized during raids. The offices of the investigation wing of the police station, four adjacent houses and over a dozen vehicles were destroyed in the blast.
21 April 2013 - Thailand
Bangkok, Dusit district. Three privates were wounded, two seriously, when an M72 anti-tank rocket they were cleaning exploded in front of an ammunition depot of the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the 1st Infantry Regiment on Rama V road in Bangkok’s Dusit district. Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the incident occurred at about 11:00 during a routine clean-up of military equipment. However, what caused the rocket to explode was still not clear. The explosion could have been caused either by excessive heat or human error. A committee would be set up to investigate, he said. Maj-Gen Varah Boonyasit, commander of the First Division, and Col Ekarat Changkaew, commander of the 1st Infantry Regiment, said the committee would establish the cause of the explosion.
21 April 2013 - USA
TN, Morgan County. An Army EOD squad safely detonated several dozen World War II-era mortar rounds at a Morgan County junkyard, two days after they first were discovered during a fire on the property. Morgan County Sheriff Glen Freytag said Coalfield Elementary School, which is 2½ miles from the site, was locked down and homes within a half-mile radius were evacuated during the explosions.
An Army unit from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, counter-charged the two to three feet long mortars in three separate controlled explosions. Soldiers dug a hole in the ground, filled it with just enough mortars to not crack nearby building foundations and then measured the right amount of explosives, said Michael Knight, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions. He said that the combined explosive weight of the shells was approximately 30 pounds.
22 April 2013 - USA
PA, Jamestown. Combined Systems Inc. An explosion at a munitions factory sent one unidentified female worker to the hospital. According to Chief Mike Cadman of Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department, the worker was injured just after 07:30 when a shell exploded inside one of the production buildings, causing her facial injuries. Cadman said: “It was in one of the stages of production, an area where they wash products, where the explosion occurred. There was no fire and only the one injury.”
Combined Systems makes tactical munitions and crowd control devices for the armed forces and law enforcement at its plant in Greene Township. Combined Systems has had two fires at its complex outside of Jamestown in less than 18 months. On February 20, 2012, a midday fire destroyed a building that made the company’s smoke products. [HInt 12-02b, 120220-02.] On November 15, 2011, a similar fire broke out in a different building. [HInt 11-11a, 111115-02.] There were no injuries in either fire.
25 April 2013 - India
Andhra Pradesh state, Hyderabad. Gulf Oil Corporation (formerly Indian Detonators Ltd). Two workers were killed and another injured in an explosion at the former Indian Detonators plant. The company is currently called Gulf Oil Corporation. An estimated 30 workers were on the shift, but most of them had gone out to have dinner when the explosion occurred. According to initial reports, reactors exploded when the staff was working in the unit that manufactures detonator fuse cords at Sector DF-1 in the compound. The exact reason behind the incident is yet to be confirmed. A major explosion at IDL’s fuse wire manufacturing unit killed nine workers on November 25, 2003. [HInt 03-11b, search “Indian Detonators Limited” or “IDL”.]
The Hinduja group-owned Gulf Oil India was merged with Hyderabad-based IDL Industries, which was engaged in manufacturing commercial explosives, in 2002. IDL Industries was later renamed as Gulf Oil Corporation Limited. It is also known as IDL-Gulf Oil.
29 April 2013 - India
Odisha/Orissa state, Balasore district, Chandipur. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). A fire broke out in one of the magazines of the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s lab in Chandipur area of coastal Balasore district. The fire was contained within three hours by 14 fire tenders. More than 12 hours later, more explosions occurred at the same magazine following which six fire tenders rushed to the site to control the fire. The second explosion in the magazine, which occurred at around 20:00, was contained after 45 minutes. No one was injured in the explosions.
The first fire, broke out in one of the 21 magazines of Proof and Experimental Establishment in [PXE] Chandipur, the oldest laboratory of DRDO, at around 04:00. PXE Director R Appavuraj said: “The explosion left all explosives in the magazine completely gutted. However, the roof of the magazine was intact. Only the doors were ripped apart.” The other 20 magazines in PXE were unaffected by the explosion. Appavuraj said more than a dozen fire-fighters took three hours to bring the fire under control. He said it was not yet clear how the magazine housed in a RCC structure caught fire: “There are no electrical wirings in the building. Whether it was due to lightning or some chemical decomposition, we an only tell after an inquiry.”
The test site, known as Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE), is the DRDO’s oldest weapons testing facility in the country set up in 1894. PXE is the main non-Army proving ground and research centre for design and developmental trials of guns, mortars, rockets, RCL, tank guns and their ammunition and Naval guns and ammunition.
30 April 2013 - China
Jiangsu province, Nanjing. Nanjing University of Science and Technology. One worker died and three were critically injured when a former laboratory exploded while being demolished. The explosion occurred at around 09:00, destroying the building and shattering windows in nearby homes, according to the municipal fire department.
On May 1, university students said they suspected there was a storeroom for explosives inside the building. They said the construction workers may have mishandled electrical wires when demolishing it, triggering the explosion. China News Service reported that the university was rushing to complete construction projects for its 60th anniversary in September and safety concerns had been ignored.
A report by the website of the Guangming Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party United Front Work Department’s propaganda office, said the building belonged to a demolition company affiliated with the university. A spokesman for the university denied explosives were stored in the building and blamed the explosion on errors by the construction workers.
On May 1, a university spokesman said the explosion was allegedly caused by workers attempting to steal lab materials. The incident was thought to have happened while five workers were using “a flame cutting machine” to incise [sic] the gate of Lab 319, said Gong Zaichun, spokesman for the university, at a press conference. Gong said the workers, hired by the university to demolish another lab, were suspected of attempting to steal the metal materials stored in Lab 319. Both labs are owned by the university’s chemical industry college. It remained unclear what material had triggered the explosion, and police were still investigating the case.
30 April 2013 - USA
NY, Massena. A box of empty shotgun shells and gunpowder left on a porch led to a minor explosion that caused moderate damage to a Massena house. Fire officials said a discarded cigarette butt sparked a fire in clothing and a patio swing, that then ignited the box of ammunition, causing significant damage to the front section of the house. The property is a rental with five occupants. An eyewitness living across the road said she heard three explosions. They were not very loud, she said, but they shot large bursts of flame from the porch.
According to Massena Fire Department Assistant Chief Ted Kyrwanczyk, a resident’s relatives were helping her clear out items that belonged to her husband, who recently died, and left the box of disassembled shotgun ammunition on her front porch. Mr. Kyrwanczyk said the fire did not cause any injuries, and despite the damage, deemed moderate by fire officials, he believes it is possible for the structure to be repaired.
7 May 2013 - Iran
Tehran, Bidganeh area. Raja-Shimi chemical industrial complex. There were unconfirmed reports of three explosions in the Iranian capital, according to an unverified message posted on the Twitter network by a BBC Persian correspondent. The journalist quoted residents of the city as saying that the explosions occurred in an area of west Tehran where Iran “maintains its missile research and depots”. Later, an Iranian website said the blasts occurred at a privately owned chemical factory.
On May 8, the deputy of interior minister of Iran on security issues, Ali Abdullahi said, the explosions in Western Tehran were pre-planned. Abdullahi explained: “Those were the planned explosions of destroying old ammunition. This is natural, and all of the explosions were carried out in Shahriar of Shahriar county of Tehran province, safely.” This was also the version that Iranian authorities used immediately after the November 2011 explosion that rocked the military complex near the village of Bidganeh, the location of the Revolutionary Guards’ fifth missile division, responsible for the launch of Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 missiles.
An Israeli source said the explosions apparently destroyed a facility suspected throughout the past decade of being part of an Iranian program for developing chemical weapons and producing fuel for surface-to-surface missiles. It said the explosions occurred at 14:00 in the Raja-Shimi chemical industrial complex, which is affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Defence and deals in the production of chemical materials for military use.
Iranian opposition spokes reported that considerable damage was caused to the facility and the authorities have instructed local teams not to discuss the number of casualties at the scene.
10 May 2013 - USA
CT, Sterling. Austin Powder. State police said one person was injured in an accident at the Sterling plant of Austin Powder, a company that manufactures industrial explosives. Police said the injured person was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment of a burn injury. No other injuries were reported in the incident.
Police said a trailer adjacent to the building was badly damaged by acid, and emergency personnel were waiting for a chemical reaction to finish before completing the cleanup and investigation.
A later report said the victim was mixing chemicals inside a storage bunker at about 10:00 when a “flash” ignition occurred. He was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich for treatment of non-life threatening chemical burns. Sterling Fire Marshal Jim Sweet said: “When we arrived on the scene, the victim had been taken out and was being hosed off. This was a non-explosive event.”
Mark DeCaprio, director of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s [DEEP] emergency response and spill prevention division said the chemical reaction produced a yellow cloud, adding: “This was a localized issue with no effect.” DEEP officials, along with state police investigators, were scheduled to interview the victim in an attempt to determine exactly which chemicals were involved in the accident.
13 May 2013 - USA
NM, Socorro. New Mexico Tech. Fire-fighters quickly extinguished a blaze a fire at New Mexico Tech’s explosives research and testing site. Three people were injured in the fire. One was an employee at the school and two were subcontractors. One victim was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, while the other two were taken by vehicle. All three sustained burns, but were expected to survive. A fourth person twisted his knee carrying the injured away from the scene. No students were involved in the explosion.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, but an official At New Mexico Tech said “it was sparked during a controlled explosion that went awry”. Thomas Guengerich of the New Mexico Tech public information office said: “It sounds like an accident indeed. It was a strange occurrence. It was unintentional. For that reason, we’ll be looking into what happened.”
The fire broke out at 12:25, and burned one structure at the facility. The fire threatened another structure within a controlled area. School officials said that on any given day, nearly a dozen controlled explosions go off on the side of the mountain where the fire occurred. It was the first time an out-of-control explosion happened on the campus in nearly 25 years. The school cancelled further controlled explosions until investigators determine what went wrong.
14 May 2013 - USA
AR, Clarksville. Black Powder Inc. The Sheriff’s office said one person suffered severe burns after an explosion at a gunpowder supplier in western Arkansas. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said the explosion was reported at Black Powder Inc. near Clarksville. Chief Deputy Jerry Dorney said only one person was inside the building at the time of the explosion, and that person was taken by helicopter to a Little Rock hospital. The sheriff’s office said the scene had been secured and investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding.
15 May 2013 - Switzerland
Canton Vaud, Mont-sur-Lausanne. Around mid-day, an explosion occurred at a shooting range under renovation in the Petit-Flon district of Mont-sur-Lausanne, while several workers were present. One of them was severely injured, and taken to the CHUV.
15 May 2013 - Thailand
Bangkok. Three people were killed in a gunpowder explosion which destroyed a converted factory building in Bangkok. The explosion was said to have occurred accidentally in the house where gunpowder was packed into table tennis balls. These table tennis balls are apparently used to drive away unwanted birds. A few other houses were also damaged by the explosion.
3 June 2013 - Canada
Québec/Quebec, near Thetford Mines, Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine. On June 4, Quebec provincial police and the province’s workplace health and safety board said they were investigating an explosion which damaged several homes in a small community near Thetford Mines. The explosion occurred in a granite quarry in the community of Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine. No one was hurt, but the blast broke windows and cracked some of the bricks of nearby homes. Provincial police spokesman Richard Gagné said no homes were evacuated, and workers at the quarry often use dynamite during excavation. Gagné said investigators were on the scene, trying to find out what went wrong in the routine explosion.
11 June 2013 - Denmark
Helsingør/Elsinore, Kronborg Slot/Castle. A Danish soldier has been seriously injured after an 18th century cannon accidentally fired on him during a royal salute. Footage recorded by an onlooker shows the member of the Danish artillery regiment walking among the cannons amid a series of loud bangs and puffs of white smoke at the famous Kronborg Castle. The artillery salute was in honour of Prince Henrik’s 79th birthday. The soldier was caught right in front of a cannon muzzle when it went off and the blast flung him about 6m from a castle bastion. According to local news reports, the unnamed soldier suffered burns to his legs from the thighs down and lost two or three fingers in the explosion. He was rushed to hospital by helicopter and remained in a stable condition. Military police were still trying to unravel the sequence of events that led to the incident, and have so far declined to offer a detailed comment.
11 June 2013 - India
Tamil Nadu, Thoothukudi District, Kovilpatti/Covilpatti, North Thittankulam. A fire in a match factory at North Thittankulam in Kovilpatti claimed the lives of four women. The fire started at 13:40, and burned for more than half an hour. Kovilpatti Revenue Divisional Officer T. Kathiresan said the women were unloading chemical-dipped splints from a container. They were moving the material to a vehicle parked close to the container – which was also completely burnt – to transport it to match manufacturing units.
After an enquiry, the RDO said the accident occurred due to mishandling of the flammable material. The charred remains of the women were taken to Kovilpatti Government Head Quarters Hospital for post-mortem examination.
14 June 2013 - Mexico
Hidalgo state, municipality of Zacualtipán. Six people were injured, two of them seriously, by the explosion of a clandestine powder magazine, which also caused damage to the surrounding , and panic and fear among local residents. The most seriously injured were a teenager with a 15cm scalp wound, and her mother who suffered 40 percent surface burns, especially in the face and chest.
According to early police investigations, the loud explosion occurred in the family home where large amounts of gunpowder and rockets were stored in a room – presumably for sale in September at the next Fiestas Patrias. A careless handling of fireworks triggered two explosions intermittently, and totally destroyed the home.
The explosion of the underground magazine forced the mobilization of various security and relief forces, as well as the presence of the Mexican Army, who cordoned off the area to avoid a major disgrace. [sic]
18 June 2013 - Egypt
Asyut Governorate, Asyut/Assiut. A military officer and a civilian worker were killed when an expired shell exploded at an ammunition depot at a military base in southern Asyut. According to a statement released by the Armed Forces, fourteen others were injured and transported from Asyut to Cairo by air. It said that the explosion occurred as the workers were inspecting expired shells. The statement also said that proper action will be taken to guarantee the rights of those affected.
Military officer Ahmed Shaaban from the Armed Forces spokesman’s office said that “some sort of mistake must have taken place during the inspection”, but that qualified that further information was pending, with the investigation still in its initial stages. The type and severity of injuries sustained is still unknown, but most were burn victims, according to Shaaban.
18 June 2013 - Russia
Samara Region, Volga Federal Ammunition Testing Site. One person was killed, and over 100 people sought medical help, 11 were hospitalized and more than 6,500 local residents were evacuated from a village near an ammunition depot in central Russia where a fire caused explosions of stored artillery shells. Investigators said a wildfire could have spread to the testing range. More than 1,400 personnel and over 220 major pieces of fire-fighting equipment, including eight aircraft and two fire-fighting trains, were deployed to contain the fire and explosions. There were plans to use four helicopters.
Emergencies Ministry spokesman Oleg Voronov said one man, a gas company employee who was carrying out work at the depot, died in the blaze, adding: “The circumstances of his death are unknown.”
The Russian Emergencies Ministry said the fire at the Volga Federal Ammunition Testing Site in the Samara Region was followed by a series of explosions that continued to rock the area, sending shrapnel to a distance of up to a kilometre from the site. A ministry spokesman said the depot stored some 6,000 122-mm artillery shells as well as other ammunition and explosives, and, in the worst case scenario, the explosions could continue for two or three days. The Emergencies Ministry said there was no chemical threat to the population. The regional Investigative Committee later said the depot contained around 18 million shells.
Explosives experts made safe around 12,000 unexploded shells, many of which were scattered on a nearby highway. Television footage showed blown-out glass and window frames and unexploded shells lying in Nagorny and on the nearby highway. Drivers whose cars were hit by shrapnel were those most seriously injured. Regional investigators launched a criminal investigation into a possible breach of safety regulations and President Vladimir Putin ordered payments of 10,000 rubles ($300) to each of those evacuated.
On June 21, the emergencies ministry said more than 110 people had sought medical assistance since the incident occurred. More than 640 people received psychological assistance. Some 6,500 residents, including 800 children, were evacuated, but all residents had returned to their homes by that afternoon.
19 June 2013 - USA
NJ, Plumsted Township. Picric acid found inside an antique first-aid kit forced the evacuation of Red Barn Antiques. According to Dave Rogers, Jr., chief of New Egypt emergency medical services, who was on the scene, police, fire and EMS were dispatched to the antique store at 16:13 after the owner opened up the first-aid kit and found a suspicious chemical inside. Fire Chief Steve Morgan investigated and determined the chemical was picric acid, which he described as “a chemical that was used by physicians back in the 1930s”. Rogers said that depending on how the chemical is handled, “it could become highly explosive”.
Rogers said the Ocean County Hazardous Materials team and the Berkeley Township Hazardous Materials team were called along with State Police, local fire and emergency services personnel. He said 10 members of Berkeley Township Hazardous Materials team, 10 township emergency services and fire personnel and two members of the State Police responded. He said Hazardous Materials technicians diluted the chemical and it was deemed safe for disposal. Police, fire and emergency services personnel left the scene at 19:00.
23 June 2013 - Ecuador
Morona Santiago, Taisha. Four people died and 15 others were injured following the explosion of a grenade during a demonstration of military equipment in the Amazonian province of Morona Santiago in south-eastern Ecuador. Three of the four fatalities were soldiers, according to a statement by the Ecuadorian Army, indicating that the grenade explosion occurred “accidentally”. The incident also left 15 injured: five civilians and ten soldiers, seven of whom were transported to Quito to receive medical care at the Hospital of the Armed Forces.
25 June 2013 - USA
MD, Assateague Island. About 100 munitions pieces found on North Ocean Beach in Assateague Island National Park caused the park to close for part of June 25 as experts evaluated the danger and detonated several devices. During the Second World War, the island was used by the US government for munitions testing.
National park rangers closed Bayberry and National Seashore drives to traffic and evacuated beaches throughout the park for several hours, but most of the park was reopened by mid-afternoon. The North Ocean Beach area remained closed until the evening. The Ordnance Disposal Unit from Aberdeen Proving Ground came in with ordnance specialists and detonated at least three munitions during the day. The type of munitions detonated was unknown.
27 June 2013 - Indonesia
West Java, Bogor, Cigudeg. PT Batusarana Persada. PT Multi Nitrotama Kimia. Some 250 sticks of explosives were found missing while being transported to a mining site operated by PT Batusarana Persada. The loss was noticed on the morning of June 27 when workers of the mining firm unloaded the explosive cargoes from a truck at the site located in Rengas Jajar village, Cigudeg, Bogor regency, West Java. The workers found that canvas sheet covering the boxes of explosives had been ripped off and later found that two boxes of explosives, which weighed 50 kg, and containing 250 sticks, were missing. Those missing explosives were part of a shipment transported by four trucks to the mining site location from the warehouse of a supplier firm PT Multi Nitrotama Kimia in Subang, West Java. Those trucks had reportedly made a stopover in Marunda, North Jakarta early on the morning of June 27. The trucks were loaded with a total of 30 tonnes of ammonium nitrate explosive, two tonnes of dynamite, and 4,000 electric detonators.
The loss of the explosives caused a scare over their possible misuse for terror attacks. Indonesian police assigned their anti-terror special unit of Detachment 88 to trace down those implicated in the case. The anti-terror police unit said it was conducting intensive investigations into the case, assisted by police from national police headquarters, West Java, and Jakarta regional headquarters. Some 12 witnesses were now being investigated related to the missing of the high explosive materials. An Indonesian police spokesmen Boy Rafly Amar said that the detachment 88 personnel were particularly tasked to collects facts developed on the field related to case: “We must not underestimate this case. There should not be a chance those dynamites used by irresponsible persons.”
29 June 2013 - Australia
Queensland, between Mareeba and Atherton, Arriga. A man died and another was punctured with a metal skewer when a pipe bomb exploded on a rural property in Queensland. Three men were on a property in Arriga at about 21:15 when there was an explosion. A police spokeswoman said initial investigations indicated the explosion was caused by gunpowder being ‘burnt off’ while an ambulance officer said the men had constructed a ‘pipe bomb’ filled with nails and gunpowder. A Department of Community Safety spokesman said a 58-year-old man died in the explosion while another 58-year-old man was left with puncture wounds when a metal skewer pierced his chest. A 33-year-old man survived with just cuts to his arm.
2 July 2013 - Afghanistan
Qaraghahi. Army Spc. Hilda Clayton, an Augusta photographer who documented overseas security missions, died during an Afghan National Army training exercise, when a mortar system failed and created an explosion that killed four people and wounded 11.
Col. Bill Benson said Clayton, 22, was a combat camera specialist attached to the Long Knife Brigade to document the development of the Afghan National Security Forces and that she died doing what she loved.
7 July 2013 - China
Heilongjiang province, city of Qiqihar. Forty shells left by Japanese troops during the Second World War were found at a construction site in the city of Qiqihar in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province.
The shells were discovered when an excavator was being used at a construction site in the city’s Jianhua district, according to the municipal public security bureau. The fuzes and bodies of the rusted shells were still intact and posed a safety risk. Police moved the shells and stored them safely in a special warehouse.
Two Japanese chemical weapon units were once stationed in Qiqihar when the city was occupied by the invading Japanese troops in the 1930-40s. After the Japanese were defeated, large amounts of bombs, shells and mines were left behind. Undiscovered explosives still pose a threat to local residents.
9 July 2013 - Finland
Central Finland, Laukaa. Eurenco Vihtavuori [also known as Forcit Vihtavuori]. Emergency officials were investigating a smoking waste container unit at the Eurenco Vihtavuori gunpowder plant at Laukaa in Central Finland. Around 2,100 local residents were evacuated from the area. An as of yet unidentified substance in a waste container was believed to have caused a chemical reaction, posing a potential hazard at a facility that manufactures explosives used in mining and blasting. Regional emergency services chief Hannu Kouhia said that units were standing by while waiting for the arrival of a bomb disposal robot from the Army before proceeding with their investigation.
The danger zone was emptied of residents by early on the afternoon of July 10. Of the 2,100 people residing in the area, over 400 were evacuated, while the rest had left the area on their own accord or were away during this holiday season. Both police and soldiers from the nearby Keuruu garrison aided in the evacuation. Officials cleared a zone 1.5 kilometres around site, which could be further expanded if experts judge it necessary.
At 22:00, it was announced that the risk of a [major] explosion had been eliminated.
According to Matti Vähäpassi, head of risk management at Forcit, Forcit customers delivered the explosives waste to the plant for disposal, but the contents of such waste containers are not inspected in detail – rather, the company relies on their customers for detailed information on such waste.
A military bomb disposal robot was earlier brought in to investigate the smoking waste container unit, and cold water was pumped into the container throughout the day to cool it down. As of Wednesday evening, the procedure had succeeded in keeping down the temperature of the waste container and nearby containers. Later in the evening, the cooled down container was moved away from the other explosives waste containers, thereby eliminating the risk of a major explosion. Containers and warehouses at the site contain explosive equivalent to 150 tonnes of TNT.
On July 10, the evacuation order was lifted by local officials at 20:30 after water pumped into the container appeared to reduce its temperature sufficiently to avoid the risk of an explosion. Central Finland fire marshal Hannu Kouhia said that the smouldering container had been isolated from other waste containers, so the risk of a major explosion had reduced. Samples were taken in an attempt to discover what in the container caused the chemical reactions, and these will be analysed on July 11. Fire-fighters continued cooling operations on the suspect container. The Safety Investigation Authority, the police and the Safety and Chemicals Agency are to conduct a broad-ranging investigation into the incident.
On July 12, Forcit decided to remove explosive waste-filled containers to a more secure location. Production was shut down the same afternoon to accommodate the exercise, which was expected to end by July 16. All of the storage containers containing explosive waste material will be removed from the premises of Forcit’s production facility in the wake of a detonation. Production has been temporarily shut down to accommodate the exercise. The plant operators decided independently on the temporary suspension of operations.
According to the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes, there were between 300 and 500 waste containers on the factory premises. Most problematic was a group of about 200 containers, which were thought to have triggered a chemical reaction and caused a mass evacuation of local residents. All of these containers will be moved some 600 metres from their current location in the factory yard. An alternative storage facility is being approved by Tukes for the final relocation of the receptacles.
The company began planning a new storage location in the autumn of 2012, when Tukes informed that the waste receptacles were too close to the company warehouse. Tukes plant and mining supervisor Päivi Rantakoski said: “Following the notice there were plans to establish a new storage facility for the containers. The company had indeed set plans in train, but for one reason or another they were pushed back.” Officials will also clear out the production warehouse of the neighbouring explosives factory, while production will be temporarily suspended. The Kemix factory manufactures an ammonium nitrate-based emulsion used to produce explosives.
15 July 2013 - Nigeria
Imo state. On July 16, Nigerian police in Imo announced the recovery of weapons abandoned during the Nigerian Civil War, 43 years after the war ended. The explosives included wartime munitions recovered from old military trench at Okigwe and five primed improvised explosive devices found at a robbery scene at a new generation bank in Ezinihitte, Mbaise Local Government Area. Ten live wartime military bombs were also recovered at Ogbaku in Mbaitoli Local Government Area, along with six live old wartime military bombs found at a building site at Ohuba in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Muhammad Musa, who displayed the ammunition in Owerri, said the explosives were recovered by men of “Operation Sweep” formed to get rid of deadly explosives in the state. He said the efforts were part of the result of continuation of onslaught on crime and criminals in the state. Other weapons recovered were four explosive devices and one rocket launcher, five “electromagnetic old wartime bombs” [sic], and six handheld grenades recovered from a road construction site at Orlu. Old wartime military bombs and two exploration [sic] bullets were found in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, while four primed explosive devices and one handheld grenade were recovered from an abandoned vehicle.
Musa said: “We are determined to sweep and clean Imo of explosive ordnance like bombs and other improvised explosive devices and weapons buried during the Nigeria Civil War.” Musa noted that some of the bombs had been detonated, adding that apart from the five local government areas, the operation would cover the state. According to him, some explosives were recovered from hoodlums who engaged the police in a gun battle. The commissioner advised traditional rulers and other stakeholders to guard against the use of local canons at social gatherings as hoodlums used them during robbery operations.