Boom! With an explosion heard several miles away and felt for several city blocks, an Air Force explosives team detonated a World War II-era bomb unearthed at a construction site Wednesday near the Florida State University campus.
The blast went off about 9:30 p.m., less than a mile from the state Capitol. A construction crew unearthed it hours earlier and called Tallahassee police.
Earlier, the Tallahassee police bomb squad supervisor, using binoculars from a distance, examined the artifact and determined it could indeed be a bomb, police spokesman David Northway said.
“They didn’t get very close to it,” Northway added.
Several streets around the construction site were cordoned off with yellow tape, and officers blocked traffic and pedestrians from approaching. An ambulance and a fire truck were on standby.
In a multistory apartment just beyond the yellow caution tape, women on several floors leaned out of their windows, asking officers questions, including the size of the potential bomb. An officer stretched both arms wide.
“Will we be notified if there’s a concern?” a student yelled from a second-story window. An officer replied, “The entire building will be evacuated.”
Later, the 325th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Flight out of Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City arrived and confirmed it was a World War II-era bomb. Police haven’t indicated how it came to be there. The Museum of Florida History website says Tallahassee had an airfield during WWII that was used for training.
The neighborhood was cleared, a large hole was dug and the bomb covered in dirt to ensure fragments wouldn’t be sent flying. The blast shook buildings within a few blocks of the site.