Residents in German city Frankfurt were free to return to their homes Sunday afternoon after authorities reported that an unexploded World War II bomb found close to the European Central Bank headquarters had been defused.
“We did it! The World War II bomb in the Ostend neighbourhood has been defused by the ordnance disposal team. Roadblocks and evacuation zones have been lifted,” the city fire service tweeted.
As well as the massive glass-shelled ECB skyscraper, residential areas home to some 16,000 people within a roughly one-kilometre (0.6-mile) radius of the 500-kilogramme (1,100 pounds) bomb were evacuated.
Police combed the area early in the morning for stay-behinds, after loudspeaker trucks circulated urging the inhabitants to leave.
“It’s actually nice to meet the people of the area, because when you live in apartments you don’t always know everybody,” evacuee Carmel McKiernan told AFP at a welcome centre set up in the Frankfurt zoo, where many older and less mobile people were sheltering from the rain.
“It was well organised, I think, even if these loud announcements in the streets were a bit militaristic,” said fellow evacuee Andreas Mueller.
“We’re going to go for a nice walk with the kids, go to the park, thank God it’s not too hot today,” said William, 35, outside a nearby cafe with his family.
The US fragmentation bomb with two detonators was found on June 25 during construction work in the centre of Germany’s banking capital.
The ordnance clearance service determined that it posed no immediate danger and scheduled the operation to defuse it on Sunday.
The evacuation zone stretched across both banks of the Main river, forcing the suspension of several train services on top of the general lockdown.