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Controlled detonations have taken place at Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford

Controlled detonations have taken place at Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford

Joint statement from West Mercia Police and Herefordshire Council

Explosive Ordnance Device experts have carried out a controlled detonation at Rotherwas Industrial Estate this afternoon (Thursday, September 7) following the discovery of suspected phosphorus grenades yesterday afternoon.

The cordon remains in place at this time and further updates will be issued when available.

What are the devices that have been found?

They are believed to be self-igniting phosphorus (SIP) grenades. They are not explosive devices but glass jars with a combustible compound.

How dangerous are they?

All items of ordnance can pose a danger if not handled correctly. As with other phosphorus grenades it is highly unlikely they would spontaneously ignite or detonate if left alone. With this particular device, the glass jar would need to be broken to expose the contents to air, resulting in them setting light.

What happens if one 'explodes'?

If a grenade did break and combust, it would expel smoke (and possibly flame).

Dr Naveed Syed from Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands Health Protection Team said:

"Any smoke emanating from the controlled detonation of the material should disperse quickly into the atmosphere, minimising exposure to the public. However residents are advised to shelter, close all windows and doors, and to keep away from the smoke to minimise any potential exposure.

"Smoke may contain substances that can irritate the lining of the air passages, eyes and the skin. Respiratory symptoms can include coughing and wheezing, breathlessness, sputum (phlegm) production and chest pain. Any health effects are likely to be very short-lived and probably due to the irritant effects of the smoke.

"People with asthma and other respiratory or heart conditions may be particularly susceptible to the smoke and should ensure they carry their medication and use as appropriate."

If you have any health concerns please call 111 or contact your GP.

How many devices are thought to be buried at the site?

A 'crate' of devices has been located, containing 24 grenades. They have been carefully extracted and detonated.

What will happen to the traffic and people outside of the cordon if smoke travelled?

The smoke (and potential flame) would be largely confined to the excavation area and dealt with quickly by on-site experts. It would pose a very low risk to passing vehicles but if there were any public safety concerns an extended cordon would be set up and further advice issued.
Posted : 07/09/2017 15:22:57