WWII bomb unearthed near airport
By JAMIE JONES
© St. Petersburg Times,
BROOKSVILLE -- An old 1,000-pound bomb was unearthed Tuesday behind the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park, south of Brooksville.
A construction crew working on land behind the park grazed the soil and discovered a metal object shortly before 4 p.m., said Mark Tobert of the county's Emergency Management Office.
He and other authorities at the scene think the bomb was left over from World War II, when the land was a training site called the Brooksville Army Air Field.
"This used to be a military base and a bombing range," Tobert said. "You'll find this stuff here and in Brookridge."
The site is known for harboring wartime dangers, such as artillery shells and mustard gas. In 1963, an aviation worker discovered a vial of mustard gas and was hospitalized for several days.
In the late 1980s, the Army learned that 127 cans of a chemical gas supposedly stored during World War II at the airport had never been accounted for.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in 1997 that it would spend $1.7-million cleaning the land and removing chemical weapons.
The airport is one of 20 such sites in the country and the only one in Florida that the Army planned to treat intensively.
The Army Corps couldn't be reached late Tuesday to discuss treatment of the land or the discovery of the bomb.
Authorities roped off the field and called in a Tampa bomb squad. The squad planned to X-ray the bomb to make sure it wasn't live.
People who work in and around the industrial park left voluntarily to stay out of danger, said Chief Danny Roberts of Hernando County Fire Rescue.
"We have the possible blast area roped off so no one would get hurt," Roberts said.
Tobert said the bomb looked like a long barbecue grill buried in the earth. Authorities were still working on the site late Tuesday.
- Jamie Jones covers law enforcement and courts in Hernando County. She can be reached at 352-754-6114 or at email@example.com.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111