Over 2,000 explosive that date back to World War II were collected on Saipan and were detonated yesterday.
Yesterday the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services along with the U.S Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5 Detachment Marianas set up for the detonation of 1,000 uncovered unexploded ordinances (UXOs) that date back to the Second World War.
DFEMS captain Paul Sasamoto said that the detonation would take two days to complete. The detonation process continues today at the Marpi area.
“We just set up a 1,000 pieces of UXOs that have been laying here since World War II that we have recovered…. we’re detonating one today and again tomorrow,” he said.
Sasamoto said that DFEMS has collected about 2,000 to 4,000 pieces of UXOs in the last four months.
“We’re removing a thousand pieces and again tomorrow…it took about four months to collect the amount of UXOs …all over the island,” he said.
During the detonation process, although roads were blocked off, a few tourists and a few locals still managed to enter the detonation area.
Sasamoto wanted to advise, for future reference, that all tourists and locals remain cautious during detonation sessions and to also report any uncovered UXOs to the department.
“When we have a detonation, please stay away from the area…and if you find UXOs lying around, please call 911 or call the fire department, secure the area, and make sure no one enters the area until we arrive,” he said.
According to DFEMS spokesperson Derek Gersonde, it is common practice to detonate explosive remnants of war uncovered on Saipan that was dug up from ongoing construction projects.
Detonation of uncovered explosives ensures safety for the community because it is sometimes unknown whether the explosives are still active or dormant after being buried for decades.
Gersonde said the detonations are done probably twice a year or depending on how much has been collected.
Gersonde and a couple of the DFEMS personnel present yesterday mentioned that a lot of the detonated explosives were uncovered at a construction site behind the Triple J.