World War II-era torpedo dug up in Vero Beach neighborhood, later detonated

VERO BEACH, Fla. - UPDATE: A piece of America's fighting past that was uncovered this week, is no more.

Wednesday afternoon, a 1,200 pound, 10-foot "Tiny Tim" rocket was disposed of on the ocean floor off the Indian River County coast.

Preparing for the blast meant that some residents of the Ocean Ridge community had to leave their homes for a few hours.

From the beach, it was nothing more than a big splash.  With the rocket disposal taking place well out to sea, Steve Hawn expected more.

“We were looking for a little bit bigger boom but I’m glad it was down there and not in front of the house here.”

Hawn was one of many people told to leave their homes this morning in preparation for the blast.  Frank Worthington got a knock from a deputy around 8:30.

"He said are you aware of what’s going on around here?  I said 'yes' and he said, 'You have to be out of here by 10,' said Worthington.

So Frank went to his neighbor Ted Lee, whose home was outside of the evacuation zone.

“The military trucks came in.  It’s been kind of exciting to watch what’s going on," said Lee.

Monday, a construction crew unearthed the 75 year-old weapon, that still had explosives packed into the nose.
The area was used as a naval training site, and old ordnance occasionally surfaces here, or is found offshore.

After a helicopter sweep of the area to make sure there was no wildlife, it was “bombs away”.

 

EARLIER STORY:

Steve Hawn has seen military munitions surface in Vero Beach before.

Tuesday, however, was a little different.
 
“This one a little bit bigger and a little bit closer,” he says.
 
How close you might ask?
 
Smack dab in the middle of the Ocean Ridge neighborhood in Vero.
 
“These windows are made to withstand hurricanes,” Hawn says. “I don't know about bombs, I really don't want to figure that out.”
 
Construction crews were digging in the neighborhood Monday when they made the explosive find.
 
Its called the ‘Tiny Tim Rocket’, used by the United States towards the end of World War II.
 
“The rockets were actually launched from an aircraft and they had about a 150-pound warhead on the front of them,” says Lt. Charles Kirby with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
 
But how did it get here?
 
Kirby said the area was used as a training ground for the Navy.
 
“Basically the aircraft would come over and they would drop some inert rounds, some live rounds, blowing up different types of targets,” he says.
 
Officials say the ’Tiny Tim’ has been there for at least 75 years.

Now the task at hand is getting it out and keeping neighbors safe.
 
“The danger comes when they start to move it," Kirby says. "If something were to go wrong, and there's no anticipation that it will, what's the worse case scenario and what's the blast zone? That's what we'll evacuate people back to.”
 
Hawn isn't panicking just yet.
 
“We moved a year and a half ago, we've had a hurricane, three tornadoes, two bombs, 13 inches of rain,” he says. “We go where the action is.

Late Tuesday evening, the sheriff’s office released their evacuation plan.

All homes within 800 feet of the site will be asked to evacuate at 10 a.m. and should be able to return to their homes at 1 p.m.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office will be going door to door beginning at 8 a.m. asking those affected to leave the area.
 
The ordnance will be towed out in the ocean approximately one mile and detonated.
 

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