Sudden explosion: Large collection of WWII munitions blows-up in Dutch town

Large stash of WWII munitions discovered in a shed on Paukeslag in Etten-Leur after it caught fire, 29 May 2017
Large stash of WWII munitions discovered in a shed on Paukeslag in Etten-Leur after it caught fire, 29 May 2017. (Photo: @wa_halderberge / Twitter)

Etten-Leur residents were shaken by sudden explosions on Monday night when a shed containing a large collection of WWII munitions caught fire. The fire caused a number of the WWII items to blow up. The fire was extinguished and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is investigating, according to NU.nl.

The fire started around 7:30 p.m. on Paukeslag. Local residents reported hearing several explosions. According to a spokesperson of the EOD, it is very lucky that not all the ammunition exploded. "If the entire stock exploded, the shed wouldn't stand anymore, other sheds would've been shot into the air and all the windows in the area would have been blown out. You can indeed say that the neighborhood escaped a disaster", he said to BN De Stem.

The EOD is currently investigating what exactly was kept in the shed. Some of the items found are really dangerous, such as phosphorus grenades. "It contains a chemical that you must not breathe in. It's very harmful to your health", the EOD spokesperson said. According to him, the EOD will safely destroy the found ammunition in a spot designated by the municipality - far away from people and animals - on Wednesday. 

At this stage it is unclear why the shed owner collected so much WWII munition. It is also unclear whether he had a license to do so. 

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