A World War 2-era incendiary device found its way to Victoria and set off a brief bomb scare Saturday morning.
Andrew Winger, co-owner of Steptoe Estate Liquidation Services, discovered the bomb amongst a collection he had been called to pick up from a private owner.
Winger said he took a company vehicle to purchase some mechanic’s tools and other items.
“This device was in the box that I bought,” he said in an interview with Victoria Buzz. “It was totally inadvertently acquired.”
Winger said he thought the device was a mortar at first and called a friend, who told him that it was a German-made B1E incendiary bomb.
B1Es were dropped on built-up areas like towns or cities with the intention of burning infrastructure.
Though B1Es only contained a small amount of explosive material, they were capable of causing significant fire damage.
“I hadn’t really considered it a risk at first,” Winger said. “The gentleman who I bought it from, who has passed on, was a mechanic. I thought maybe it had been deactivated. But it turned out it was definitely live.”
He phoned Saanich Police, who in turn called the local military police at roughly 10 a.m.
Winger says emergency crews cordoned off the area around his vehicle, at the intersection of Millgrove Street and Maddock Avenue in Tillicum-Gorge.
The authorities also evacuated some local residents as a precaution while they worked for about an hour to dispose of the device.
Winger says he’s never personally heard of anything like this happening in Victoria, but unexploded devices from World War 2 are often found in Europe at construction sites.
He says that anyone who is combing through old possessions and finds a bomb-like device should definitely call local authorities.
For more benign curiosities and antiques, Steptoe and other estate services can assist individuals with identifying unknown objects.
Winger also said the police told him he wouldn’t get to keep the device. “I guess that goes without saying,” he added with a laugh.
“And people say antiques are boring.”