Officials rush to defuse downtown bomb - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Officials rush to defuse downtown bomb

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - If you noticed all the commotion in the island's capital today, it was a result of officials coming across live World War II ordnance. Although the all-clear was given this afternoon, it seems the efforts to defuse the bomb had its challenges. 

"It's something that was used to either go depth down under or above ground or , so it's the type of bomb that they found," said Lesley Leon Guerrero, spokesperson for Guam Homeland Security.

It was just before 10 this morning when a 4', 350-lb. depth bomb was discovered at a construction site near the Mobil gas station in Hagatna. Guam Police, Guam Fire and the Navy's EOD team were immediately called to the scene. The situation started off minor where authorities closed off a small portion of the area surrounding the bomb. But it was when Homeland Security officials were called in to defuse the bomb that forced authorities to expand the perimeter by 2,500 feet in all directions.

Leon Guerrero explained the process, saying, "There is no explosion...EOD explained it, a lot of people are watching from the high rises in Hagatna, and so they are seeing them pump water out because its raining and they are trying to access the bomb or they are putting sand to soak up the water so they can get to the bomb and they are going to roll it over and expose the fuse side and manually remove the fuse."

The road along Route 4 was blocked from the Chief Quipuha Statue to the McDonald's area while efforts to remove the bomb continued. Aside from several businesses being evacuated, students at the Academy of Our Lady of Guam were also let out early.

Leon Guerrero says the removal process actually only takes about five minutes to conduct, however, there were some challenges. She also admits that part of the reason for the delay to defuse the bomb was the weather and the response time for having the residents in the surrounding areas evacuate the buildings.

"When we come to your door step and ask you to evacuate, we're just doing it for your safety," she stated. "There is no way we can force a private operation to shut down or evacuate, but there is a reason why we are asking and so just to err on the side of caution and take every measure necessary to protect our people and to eliminate any unnecessary traffic in the area to allow our first responders to come in and out of places to do sweeps and to make sure that keep Guam safe."

Just before 2:30 this afternoon authorities notified the Federal Aviation Administration that they were going to defuse the more than 60-year old heavy artillery. Following that call, the all-clear was given and the roads were reopened.

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