SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The 100kg World War II bomb relic found at a construction site in Upper Bukit Timah was detonated on Tuesday (Sept 26) at around 12.30pm, after more than 4,000 nearby residents were evacuated in the morning.
The projectile, believed to be one of the largest wartime bombs unearthed in Singapore, will be disposed of by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Explosive Ordnance Disposal team in a series of controlled explosions.
The Straits Times understands this is only the first detonation and a second will follow later.
It is not safe for residents to return to their homes now.
A blast from the first detonation was heard from Block 153 Gangsa Road at 1230pm.
The Building and Construction Authority, national water agency PUB and the Land Transport Authority are expected to assess the construction site, roads, nearby drains and pipelines, as well as vacated condominiums and Housing Board flats for building and structural safety.
The authorities had told residents on Sunday that they should not be home between 8am and 7pm on Tuesday.
One of the designated areas for them to go to was the Senja-Cashew Community Club (CC).
When The Straits Times arrived there on Tuesday morning, about 100 residents were seen milling about, most of them elderly.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is MP for the ward in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC where the bomb was found, visited the CC on Tuesday morning and spoke to some residents.
Dr Balakrishnan told reporters that he wanted to thank the agencies involved, including the police, the SAF, the Building and Construction Authority and the Housing Board.
He commented that the evacuation of residents went smoothly as they left their homes on time, and cooperated with the police. He said he was worried about traffic jams but it had been managed effectively by the police.
He said: “At the community level, you can see we’ve actually over-prepared, because we were not sure exactly how many people would need additional help. But we thought it’s better to over-prepare than under-prepare.”
He said because it was a work day, most people had gone to work, while students were at school and proceeding with their lives as they should.
Dr Balakrishnan said the authorities were focused on the vulnerable, and had to make arrangements for the bedridden to have access to their daycare.
He said there were facilities in Bukit Panjang and the wheelchair-bound were tended to at the CC.
He said he was very pleased with the community for supporting one another and that people remained calm.
“I am happy with the way the community has responded, the calmness and composure of our people and, of course, the professionalism of our agencies. So, a big thank you to everyone,” he said.