Saanich street evacuated after incendiary bomb found in box

WWII bomb clears street

Military officials confiscated a Second World War-era German incendiary bomb on Saturday, after it was discovered in the bottom of a box of items recently purchased by the owner of an auction house.

The device will be taken to a safe rural area where it will be detonated, said Steptoe Antiques owner Andrew Winger, whose neighbourhood was evacuated after Saanich and military officials arrived at his Maddock Avenue home.

Winger said he has found unusual items before among purchases, but “never anything on this level.”

The incendiary bomb, which had a dark-green tail fin, measured about 35.5 centimetres (14 inches) long and a diameter of approximately five centimetres (two inches). It weighed about a kilogram.

It’s not actually a bomb, Winger said — such devices were dropped by the thousands onto British cities during the war to start fires. They burn at about 4,000 F, he said.

Winger inadvertently bought the bomb recently when he was at a Victoria home picking out items to buy after the original owner passed away. He was told by the family that the man had been a mechanic specializing in British automobiles who travelled to the U.K. to purchase items.

A box of mechanical items caught Winger’s eye and he purchased it without checking out the items at the bottom.

He wasn’t sure what he had found when he later looked through the box, so he sent ­photos to a friend with knowledge of military equipment.

His friend replied that it looked like an incendiary bomb and recommended calling the authorities.

Winger made the call Saturday morning, and Saanich police arrived first to see the device in a box in the rear of Winger’s van. Military officials then showed up and evacuated homes within 100 metres and blocked off the street.

As Winger left the scene, his last view was of a military officer leaning into the van.

“I asked if I could witness the detonation,” but was turned down, he said.

“I was informed that I wouldn’t get it back, which I suppose goes without saying.”

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