Army warns homeowners about possible munitions - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Army warns homeowners about possible munitions

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - In the 1930's and 1940's, military sites were spread out across San Diego - including Clairemont.

While families have lived in the area for decades, they have recently received letters in the mail warning them of potential explosives under their homes.

Karl and Susan Farmer live in Clairemont and received a letter from the U.S. Army alerting them they live on the pre-World War II Rosedale field and bombing target site.

The letters warn residents of military munitions and explosives that could potentially be uncovered.

"It's kind of comical. Never seen a bomb or heard of a bomb and suddenly you get this out of the blue," said Susan.

In 1983, two eight-year-old boys were killed by a live anti-tank shell in Tierrasanta's former marine gunnery range.

The Army Corps of Engineers spent millions of dollars canvasing the site. The agency's project manager for the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) for the Los Angeles District says the letters were sent as part of the Department of Defense’s new Notification Safety and Education Initiative.

Lloyd Godard says 2,300 letters were sent out to residents living on the former Rosedale site so they are aware they are living on a potential hazard. He says these sites are ranked from 1-8, 1 being high risk and 10 very low risk. Since Rosedale was a practice bombing site it has been ranked as a 5 and believe there is not immediate danger. The initiative calls for a remedial investigation and a feasibility study but because of funding and not high risk this could take years on Rosedale. They believe since Clairemont has been developed, developers may have unknowingly uncovered debris without harm.

New York Times Best Selling Author and USS Midway spokesperson, Scott McGaugh, said "why they would look at it 75-years later is a mystery. If I were to receive a letter like that I would get on the phone right away."

According to McCaugh, the Rosedale field was 160 acres, and two other pre-war airfield sites included Kearny Miramar and Linda Vista Mesa.

"It's hard to asses the risk at this point. There are so many generations that have passed," he said.

Letters sent to residents do not clarify what remedial or inspection steps are next, but does include a brochure on the three R's - recognize, retreat and report to 911 if a military explosive is discovered.

The letter said Rosedale is part of the Department of Defense's formerly used sites or "FUDS," Environmental Restoration Program.

The program allows the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up any environmental hazards left behind.

*This story has been updated to include The Army Corps of Engineers statement. Update on Friday, February, 3. 

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