Live artillery shell found in Opp

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fort Benning military company detonates bomb on Tuesday

Those who may have heard a loud bang Tuesday evening in Opp need not worry.

A 105 millimeter bomb shell was detonated at the Opp landfill by the 789th Explosive Ordinance (EOD) Company out of Ft. Benning, Ga., after a resident on Hwy. 331 unearthed what was then called a suspicious package.

Opp Fire Chief Cory Spurlin said a Covington County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to the resident’s home and the package ended up being an artillery shell.

“The deputy put the shell in his vehicle and let the Opp police chief (Mike McDonald) look at it,” Spurlin said. “As soon as he saw it, he knew it was a live round.”

McDonald is a veteran of the armed forces.

Spurlin said the officials with the EOD said that the bomb shell was used during the Vietnam War era, in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Spurlin said he was contacted shortly after McDonald made the identification and the bomb shell was taken to the landfill, where the landfill was closed off and well out of range from any residents.

Spurlin said he was in communication with the City of Dothan and the Dothan Bomb Squad, but after determining that the shell wasn’t at a residence or in a neighborhood, the squad wasn’t going to respond.

Spurlin said the EOD company arrived at around 5 p.m., and decided to detonate the shell in place.

“It wasn’t as big a blast as I thought it would be,” he said. “There were people around the area of course who heard it. Once we turned it over to the EOD, we went a half mile around the site to tell residents what was going on just in case something were to go flying, but of course it didn’t.”