Nerve-wracking weeks ahead for Pardubice as decontamination work starts
Residents of the east Bohemian city of Pardubice could be in for an eventful few weeks, as workmen begin the delicate task of decontaminating an area surrounding the local Paramo oil refinery. The work itself would normally be fairly run-of-the-mill, except for the fact that there could be a number of unexploded bombs buried in the ground from the Second World War.
The excavation work is being made more difficult by the presumed presence of unexploded bombs from the Second World War. Industrial areas of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia were repeatedly targetted by Allied bombing raids; around 1,600 bombs fell on and around the Paramo refinery in four raids during the war. Many residents still shudder when they remember them:
“At night we had to run into the fields...it was terrible.“
Most of the bombs dropped on Pardubice exploded, but pyrotechnic experts believe there could be as many 130 unexploded bombs buried in various locations around the city. The likelihood that the excavation work will unearth at least one of them is high. Jiří Kyncl, the local official in charge of the safety team overseeing the work, told Czech Radio the city wasn’t taking any chances:
“There have been cases where a bomb exploded and pieces of shrapnel weighing seven kilos ended up 800 metres away. So it is dangerous. We have several plans for evacuation – including evacuating up to 1,500 children who’ll have to be moved to other schools if we find a bomb.“
A bomb disposal expert will be on hand at all times during the excavation work. If workmen find an unexploded bomb, all excavation work will be halted, a police pyrotechnic team summoned, and an area of 600 square metres will be evacuated, something that will affect about 220 people living and working nearby.