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Local History

Bombs 1954

 900 Dangerous Shells Found in Blast Area
Springfield Leader & Press, August 27, 1954, page 11

"Army demolition experts completed the loading of some 900 unexploded 105 millimeter shells into nine cushioned boxcars this morning as cleanup operations were finished at the scene of Tuesday night's series of blasts in the Frisco west yards here.

"Lt. Col. John F. Remmel, post ordnance officer at Fort Leonard Wood, who directed an investigation into the explosions, said the explosive material will be shipped in a special Frisco train early tomorrow morning to Fort Leonard Wood. It will be destroyed in an isolated area inside the post reservation, Col. Remmel said. Capt. L. J. Blazer of Fort Sheridan, Ill. and two other ordnance disposal men from among the 25 Army experts sent here to handle cleanup operations in the area will accompany the train to Fort Wood.

"About 100 live projectiles were spaced about two feet apart on sand-covered floors in each boxcar. A tenth car was loaded with spent shells and other debris left by the series of blasts. Search crews made another hunt of the area again this morning and final loading was completed about 10 a.m.

"'Although it is hoped that there will be no further danger in the area of the explosion, if any shells are found, the fact should be reported to the police department or the Frisco railroad and ordnance disposal personnel will be called upon to remove the danger,' Col. Remmel said. 'Since the shells have been exposed to shock and heat, they may be quite sensitive and should not be disturbed by anyone except trained ordnance personnel,' the colonel added.

"Col. Remmel estimated that about 55 percent of the original 1,820 projectiles in the boxcar when it caught fire Tuesday evening still were highly dangerous when found in the area.

"Remmel also expressed the [illegible...appreciation to?] the Frisco workers, city officials, police, the National Guard and Army Reserve personnel in Springfield, the Missouri Military district and the citizens of the city 'for their whole hearted cooperation during the operation.'"

 [Photograph captions] "Battle Area Cleanup-An Army ordnance crew tosses spent 105 millimeter shells into an open gondola car [above] in the Frisco's west yards today as a cleanup of the debris and unexploded projectiles left by Tuesday's night series of blasts was completed. Left, several of the unexploded shells are shown after they were place cautiously -- about two feet apart -- in sand in one of nine boxcars. The unexploded missiles, uncovered in a three-day search of the area, are to be shipped to a remote area of Mark Twain National forrest in Pulaski County to be set off. Army demolition experts, called in shortly after the explosions, made one more complete sweep of the area today before leaving. They warned against that any ammunition found in the neighborhood in northwest Springfield should not be touched."

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