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Large, unexploded WWII bomb forces 2,500 to evacuate in Poland

Warsaw, Poland — A large, unexploded bomb from World War II discovered in the Polish city of Wroclaw forced the evacuation of 2,500 residents on Friday. The 550-pound bomb was found near a railway overpass in the city in southwestern Poland during construction work.

Poland's armed forces said it was a German SC-250 aerial bomb from the war.

The city organized buses to take the evacuated residents to a safe area while bomb removal experts worked at the scene. Train traffic also had to be halted until the bomb was removed, according to Polish media reports.

Police spokesperson Aleksandra Freus told broadcaster TVN24 that not all residents agreed to leave their homes and that authorities could not force them to do so. Police issued a public call to evacuate, citing "the threat to human health and life caused by unexploded ordnance."

Monument to Polish soldiers in Wroclaw
A file photo shows a monument to Polish soldiers killed during World War II, in Wroclaw, Poland. Getty/iStockphoto

During World War II, Wroclaw was the German city of Breslau. It saw heavy fighting and widespread destruction, coming under heavy Soviet bombardment before Germany's surrender.

The city became part of Poland when borders were redrawn after the war, with the defeated Germany forced to give up territory.

Unexploded bombs from WWII still cause problems from time to time across much of Western Europe. In February, authorities said a bomb of the same size as the one found in Poland had exploded in an "unplanned" detonation in Great Yarmouth, England.

Officials first became aware of that bomb when a contractor who was dredging a local river discovered it. Nobody was injured in the explosion but the area was evacuated.

Last summer, amid Italy's worst drought almost since WWII, the country's longest river, the Po, ran so dry that a once-submerged 1,000-pound bomb from the war came into view. 

It was destroyed about 30 miles away from where it was found, but not before about 3,000 people living nearby were evacuated so military experts could safely defuse the device.

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