Kettering residents upset by bomb squad detonation without warning

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Kettering residents upset by bomb squad detonation

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Some Kettering residents said they were upset by a bomb squad’s detonation of a mortar round without first notifying neighbors.

On Aug. 7, the Wright-Patterson Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb squad detonated what was described as an old English mortar round. The mortar was found in a Kettering house, according police Lt. Craig Moore.

Residents in the area of David’s Cemetery, where the round was detonated, told city leaders this week that they were upset they weren’t notified by the city’s Red Alert system before the ordnance was set off.

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A resident discovered the ordnance about 2:45 p.m., then took it to Kettering police headquarters on Shroyer Road. Kettering police called for the Dayton Bomb Squad, then Dayton’s squad called the Wright-Patterson bomb squad because the item was military ordnance.

City Manager Mark Schwieterman said the situation “was a little different because the ordnance was delivered to us.”

“It caused a little bit of confusion and logistic issues,” he said, noting, that usually first responders are called to a scene when an ordnance is reported.

Schwieterman explained that after the government center area was secured, the ordnance was taken to David’s Cemetery and detonated.

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“Detonated is a simple word to describe ‘loud boom,’ ” he said. “It certainly caused some concern for residents of the nearby properties. It’s not the first-time we’ve used David’s Cemetery; we’ve also used Moraine Farm. It was determined that David’s Cemetery was the closest and safest place to transport from police headquarters.”

Kettering is one of several area communities that use the Code Red system as part of the Miami Valley Communications Council. It’s an alert that will issue a voicemail to everybody in a certain radius of a potentially dangerous situation.

The system was not used last week when the ordnance was detonated, and Schwieterman weighed in on why it wasn’t.

“In the past we have utilized our Code Red system when time allowed for us to notify a specific area that there was about to be a loud noise from a detonation,” he said. “On this particular instance, we chose not to do that because the utilization of the Code Red in the past had created more concerns and issues than not using it.”

Resident Sue Choate has lived near the cemetery for 38 years and said she has witnessed several detonations, but she described Aug. 7’s as, “the big one.”

“My concern is that if this last one (detonation) was strong enough to knock me off of my feet, I just wonder what it’s doing to the (infrastructures) gas lines,” she said.

Roxanne Hemmelgarn lives next to Choate, and she would like to see neighbors notified when an ordnance is disposed of in the cemetery.

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“I am surprised at how we were not notified,” she said. “We are the ones that have property there.”

Jim Hoffman lives on Honeysuckle Drive, close to the cemetery. He feels that it should be a “bomb designation area.”

“Maybe an EPA study needs to be done to see what impact to the environment is being done by using the cemetery as a bomb disposal area,” he said.

Mayor Don Patterson said, “Short of using the cemetery or the facility at Moraine Farm, I don’t know where we could do this. We can’t haul this to some farmland half an hour out-of-town. But I think we can do a better job of working with the residents and understanding the residents’ concerns.”

He said that city officials will work on the issue and meet with residents to deal with the problem.

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