WWII-era munition detonated in Edgartown

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A World War II-era munition found on South Beach was exploded under the careful watch of police and other first responders. - Rich Saltzberg

State Police and military personnel executed a controlled detonation of a World War II rocket at the Edgartown landfill Thursday morning. Edgartown Police, Fire, and EMS were on hand, along with other municipal personnel. The detonation occurred without incident.

Ahead of the detonation, Edgartown Police warned residents they might hear the explosion between 10:30 and 11 am. A text alert was also sent out by the town, warning of “numerous loud explosions” near the old landfill.

Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee described the rocket as a SCAR (sub-caliber aircraft rocket). He said it was recovered from South Beach.

The rocket was discovered by a lifeguard on the afternoon of Sept. 2, he said. 

“This happens periodically,” he said. “In some cases, they can be blown up in place.” 

The people who disposed of the bomb included two members of a U.S. Navy EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team and a state trooper attached to the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad. 

Martha’s Vineyard Airport was formerly a military airbase, and the southern shores of the Vineyard, along with Nomans Land, were regularly used as target ranges for naval aircraft.