Residents spend third night away from home after unexploded WWII bomb detonated

28 February 2021, 20:35 | Updated: 1 March 2021, 06:25

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Some of the thousands evacuated while the Royal Navy detonated an unexploded WWII in Exeter have had to spend a third night away from home.

Residents at around 2,600 properties, including 1,400 university students, were evacuated on Friday and Saturday while a large cordon was put in place to deal with the device.

The blast, which took place just after 6pm on Saturday, was described as "significant" by Devon and Cornwall Police and has left a crater the size of a double-decker bus.

Windows of nearby buildings were also left shattered and debris was thrown at least 250 metres away.

It is believed to be a 1,000kg "Hermann" bomb used by the Nazis and was discovered on a building site on private land to the west of the University of Exeter campus on Friday morning.

Read more: Buildings left with blown out windows after unexploded World War II bomb detonated

Thousands of houses were evacuated while navy engineers detonated the bomb
Thousands of houses were evacuated while navy engineers detonated the bomb. Picture: Exeter City Council

While officers and Exeter Council confirmed there was no public health risk due to the debris, those who live within the 100-metre cordon were told they cannot return home on Sunday evening.

But all other residents evacuated within a 400-metre radius began to return as of 6pm on Sunday.

Exeter University told the 1,400 students evacuated from their halls of residence, who are currently staying in alternative accommodation, that they could not return home either.

Those who have had their work and study disrupted have been told they can apply for mitigation to avoid any damage to their grades due to the incident.

But the University confirmed that academic buildings will most likely reopen and asked students and staff to plan to attend lectures and work.

Devon County Council also confirmed on earlier this weekend that visiting friends and family was allowed in such circumstances - despite Covid-19 restrictions.