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Neighbors upset about recent bomb finds in railroad yard

October 20, 1997

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (AP) _ Residents are feeling the unpleasant effects of a massive blast at a railroad yard here 24 years earlier.

Eight Vietnam War-era bombs were found Saturday at the Union Pacific yard in this Sacramento suburb. About 500 people had to leave their homes as the bombs were detonated _ a replay of two weeks earlier when railroad workers found another bomb during renovations.

The 250-pound bombs apparently were left from a massive explosion April 29, 1973, when 18 freight cars _ each loaded with 330 bombs _ exploded, sending bombs and debris over a half-mile away. Authorities thought all the bombs had been recovered until earlier this month.

``You don’t know when they’re going to wake you up and evacuate you again,″ said resident Brenda Long. ``It just doesn’t end.″

The latest detonations activated car alarms and sent shrapnel flying into dozens of homes, causing broken windows and wall cracks.

``Your eardrums hurt,″ said Sgt. Jim Cooper, the sheriff’s department spokesman.

Residents of Roseville Pointe said the discoveries have hurt property values of the homes, which sell between $120,000 and $150,000.

``Anyone interested in selling now can forget it,″ Ed Orsi said. ``I don’t see us coming back from this. Union Pacific said everything was all cleaned up, but they keep finding more bombs. People have been talking about a lawsuit, and I have to say that I’m interested.″

Cooper said county officials would meet with Union Pacific and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives today, hoping to devise a plan to locate any other bombs.

``A lot of questions have to be answered,″ he said. ``The county never got complete and accurate information on the situation.″

``I’m not worried about bombs blowing up underneath my house, because these lots were thoroughly ... examined,″ said Clifford Burg of Roseville Pointe. ``But at the very least, we want Union Pacific to put up a wall to protect us from any more shrapnel.″

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