War bomb: Thousands must leave their homes

The streets of Heidelberg’s Bahnstadt are closed after an aerial bomb is found.

© Rene Priebe/PR video/dpa

A WWII bomb is found during construction work near Heidelberg Central Station. The explosive ordnance clearance service specialists are due to leave on Friday. This has consequences for several thousand Heidelberg residents.

Ahead of the planned defusing of a WWII bomb in Heidelberg, clearing of a larger area around the main station began on Friday. At around 7:00 the evacuation of several thousand people, including 4,000 residents, began. The city announced it in the morning. On Friday, schools, universities, kindergartens and companies will remain closed. A complete closure of the main station and of rail traffic should be avoided for as long as possible.

By 12:00, all people in the evacuation zone must have left their homes and places of work and have left the exclusion zone. “The city and law enforcement forces will go house-to-house in the affected area, ring the bell and make announcements over loudspeakers,” the city said. Already on Thursday, officials tried to inform as many people as possible. The station is then briefly closed for evacuation, and the Explosive Ordnance Clearance Service begins defusing it.

A police spokesman said on Friday it was not yet clear when exactly the defusing could begin. A 50m security radius remained in place around the site during the night. The 250-kilogram bomb discovered on a construction site had been secured by the Explosive Ordnance Clearance Service and was under police surveillance. The disaster was found during construction work near the main railway station on Thursday.

The evacuation radius – which includes large parts of Bahnstadt and parts of Bergheim – includes the F&U campus, Bahnstadt Primary School and Schiller University. The city has set up a common area in the multipurpose hall of the SNP dome for people who have no other accommodation option during the evacuation. There is also an area for the sick. dpa

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