World War II ordnance exploded at Long Point

A 100 pound photo flash bomb, dating back to WWII, was discovered at Long Point Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday. —Carol Charette


A Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad exploded a 100-pound photo flash bomb Tuesday evening creating a loud bang that reverberated throughout the region.

A Times intern on the scene said it sounded like an explosive grand finale at the end of a Fourth of July fireworks display. The explosion jolted residents in the region who reported their windows rattling on social media.

West Tisbury Deputy Chief Gregory Pachico told The Times that the detonation went off as planned. A berm was built surrounding the bomb to lessen the impact.

On Tuesday crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working for the Formerly Used Defense Sites Program (FUDS) discovered the 100-pound photo flash bomb at Long Point Wildlife Refuge, off the Deep Bottom Road entrance to the property. The discovery is part of an ongoing investigation, see separate story.

The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and the US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from Newport, Rhode Island were on the scene Wednesday afternoon.

The red star (upper left/center) marks where a 100-pound photo flash bomb was recovered on Long Point. The yellow house represents a shed less than 200 feet from the bomb. The yellow bullseye marks the Woods Hole wave sensor.

Detonation took place right around 6 pm, just as had been predicted by Army Corps project manager Carol Charette.

Trustees of the Reservation (TTOR) rangers cleared the beach and parking lots under the direction of the Mass State Police, by 5 pm, one hour earlier than the normal closing time.

West Tisbury Fire Department had assigned two fire trucks and EMS to be on scene for the detonation.

The TTOR planned to contact the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to warn about the upcoming shockwave, and to recommend they shut down their radar unit to prevent unnecessary damage.  

FUDS crews have been working on the Vineyard, on Chappy and Long Point Wildlife Refuge, since 2010 to recover practice bombs used by pilots in training during WWII.

“This is the first photo flash bomb we’ve found at Long Point, and there are possibly more,” Ms. Charette told The Times. “It’s not a safety hazard because we’re guarding it. We have to modify the explosive site safety plan because it’s going to need a wider exclusion zone before we detonate it.”