Residents near Robert surprised to learn of WWII-er bomb detonation site

Residents near Robert surprised to learn of WWII-er bomb detonation site

(WVUE) - People who live near Robert, LA say they wish they had had some notice after the Corps of Engineers detonated a World War II-era bomb.

The detonation occurred in the middle of what once was a huge bombing target range used during World War II.

We visited a covered bomb crater from a bomb that was detonated about five weeks ago on a site east of Hammond.

"It was a surprise to us not disclosed by the real estate agent or our neighbors," said Byron Landry, who moved to a property near Robert four years ago not knowing that it was once was part of a 15,000-acre bombing range.

"I heard one then two explosions. It really rattled the house," said Landry.

Landry and his neighbors were stunned to hear two loud explosions on Feb. 10.

"There was an enormous explosion. The ground shook slightly," said neighbor David Lirette.

Clay Church with the Fort Worth division of the Army Corps of Engineers said the blast came from a 100-pound bomb dropped from a bomber over 70 years ago.

"Army Corps team was doing investigation and found the ordnance," said Church.

The detonation was part of an ongoing effort to clear areas known as formerly used defend sites or FUDS.

"Dug 6 inches and came across this 50 caliber projectile," said Lirette.

The range was used for target practice for bombers and small fighters like the P 51, which fired lighter artillery.

"Today after a rain you find these quite profusely," said Lirette.

Residents say concerns about bombs keeps them from plowing their fields.

"I would like to plant but we've been cautioned not to dig, and if we strike an object we should contact the authorities," said Lirette.

"I just wish I'd known. I probably wouldn't have bought the property," said Landry.

As the Army Corps continues to look for bombs, many say they will live with a threat they consider minimal.

"These structures were built after the fact. I could be sleeping over a bomb," said Lirette.

While some people worry about bombs on the site, a lot of people say this area was farmed for decades and they feel fairly comfortable but nothing will happen now.

The former bombing target range stretched over a wide area between Highway 445 and the Saint Tammany Parish line north of highway 190 in Tangipahoa parish.

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