Unexploded Second World War bomb found in Brondesbury Park
PUBLISHED: 15:15 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2017
Residents evacuated and ten schools closed for the day after the device was discovered in a building site on The Avenue.
Police officers and colleagues from the London Fire Brigade were called to the scene shortly after 11am yesterday morning after the bomb was found by builders working on a site backing onto both Christchurch Avenue and The Avenue.
A spokesman for the Fire Brigade confirmed two engines and 14 firefighters had been dispatched shortly before midday to assist police at the scene responding to “a suspected World War II bomb”.
Specialist officers from the Army are currently on the scene and assessing the device.
Cordons around the device have been put in place to facilitate the Army specialists and there are road closures in the area.
Pupils and staff from the Marylebone Boys’ School, who have only resided in their Christchurch Avenue site since Monday this week, were also evacuated to Tiverton Green.
Headteacher Richard Ardron told The Times: “The first we knew about it was when the builders next door said they had found something suspicious and had called the police and were awaiting what they said.
“Next thing, we had the police coming who said it looks really suspicious and we need to evacuate the building.
“At that point, we enacted our evacuation plan and moved the boys to this site.”
Mr Ardron hailed the assistance of the emergency services as “absolutely fantastic”, adding: “I’d like to commend the actions of the police, fire and all the public services.
“Our boys were fantastic in evacuating in a sensible and safe manner. The boys’ safety was our first priority.”
Parents should check the school’s website for details on when it will reopen.
Brent Council confirmed this morning that the following schools will be closed all day today:
Brondesbury College For Boys
Al-Sadiq and Al-Zahra
Christ Church CofE Primary School
Islamia Primary School
Malorees Infant School
Malorees Junior School
North West London Jewish Day School
Marylebone Boys’ School
Salusbury Primary School
Islamia Girls’ Secondary School
The following roads will be encompassed within the cordon that will be extended this morning:
St. Hilda’s close
Manor House Drive south
Christchurch Avenue between St Hilda’s Close and Mowbray Road
The Avenue between Tiverton Green and Mowbray Road
Brondesbury Park between Coverdale Road and Chevening Road
Wilesden Lane between Coverdale Road and Winchester
Avenue Mowbray Road between Chevening Road and Willesden Lane
Winchester Avenue between Chevening Road and Willesden Lane Dyne Road between
Willesden Lane and Torbay Road Cavendish Road between The Avenue and Mowbray Road
Mapesbury Road between Willesden Lane and Mowbury Road
Brondesbury Park Cllr Carol Shaw also praised the emergency services, adding: “They put their lives on the line for our community and we should appreciate that because an incident like this brings it all home.”
A neighbour, Robin Mills, managed to catch a glimpse of the incident unfolding from his window at home in The Avenue.
“I saw the police coming down and all the builders getting off [the site] quickly,” he told The Times.
“Then the police arrived. About half an hour later there was a knock on the door to evacuate.”
Mr Mills added: “From what I could see, [the device] was about six-feet long and about a foot wide.”
He described the being evacuated for the first time as feeling “a bit strange”.
“I can imagine what people in the war times must have felt,” he said.
Sgt Mark Lucas moved to assuage residents’ fears at the scene as they awaited the arrival of the army bomb disposal team.
“The situation is in hand - please do not panic,” he said. “If further evacuation is needed it will be done in an orderly fashion co-ordinated by the emergency services and our partners.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: “Council officers are currently making arrangements for our residents in the Willesden Lane area to make their way to a rest centre where they will be looked after until it is safe for them to return to their homes.
“I would like to thank these residents who have shown great patience during this time. We will continue to provide updates on the situation as soon as they come through.”
A reception area in Mortimer Road has been opened by the London Borough of Brent to assist those residents affected. They will be laying on local transport from the area.
Superintendent Nigel Quantrell of Brent Borough, said: “I would like to thank the community for their continued support as we and our partners deal with this incident.
“I can assure you that we are working very hard resolve the situation. The public’s understanding and cooperation is deeply appreciated.”
If you want to check on an affected resident who lives in the area call the local authority helpline which is 020 8937 5788.