Brussels police evacuated 36 people from six buildings on Wednesday evening after the discovery of an unexploded mortar shell in a house in the Hansen-Soulie street in Etterbeek.
The explosive was found after a safe was opened in a house being emptied. Workers found a shell, presumably from the Second World War, which had been fired but had not exploded.
The mayor was notified of this discovery shortly after 5:00 PM. “It’s reckless and dangerous, especially in case of fire,” said Vincent De Wolf. “We evacuated six houses – 36 people – all around the dwelling, located near the barter store, and it also affects the neighbourhood at the back, rue de Tervaete.”
In a move unique for the coronavirus times, De Wolf was required to assure that permission to exceed the curfew and relocation solutions would be offered to evacuated residents in case the operation was extended into the evening. This, however, was not required.
The Army’s demining service arrived on the scene shortly after 7:00 PM and quickly proceeded with the safe removal of the explosive device. Residents were able to return to their homes before 8:00 PM, two hours before the current city curfew.