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Radically Inept
Friday, April 16, 2004
  Missile security? What missile Security?

I've been somewhat remiss in reading my Center For Public Environmental Oversight(CPEO) newsletter, so this story is almost a month old.
Florida
THE NEWS-PRESS
Mystery missile destroyed
Officials seek source of explosive
By Sarah Lundy, slundy@news-press.com
March 19, 2004

Authorities are trying to figure out how an 8-foot missile found its way to a Fort Myers metal scrap yard, parking an emergency response by local, state and military officials.

"It will probably be a difficult task," said Larry Long, spokesman for the Southwest Florida Domestic Security Task Force. "We have agents from the task force and the state fire marshals who are out right now following up on leads to figure out where the missile came from."

The discovery came about 3 p.m. Tuesday when a Garden St. Iron & Metal Inc. worker blow-torched the middle of what looked like a piece of corroded steel and aluminum pipe.

Sparks flew.

Smoke shot out the end of the device.

Workers yelled over the radio to Garden St. President Robert Weber, who was working in a crane nearby.

Weber quickly moved the crane's arm to grab the explosive cylinder as it scooted across the ground. Weber put the missile in a rain puddle in an effort to douse the sparks.

"It didn't faze it," he said. "It started hissing and made a jet-enginelike noise."

Afraid the heat would crack the cement, Weber moved the crane so it would hold the missile about 2 feet above the ground as it fizzled out.

"I didn’t know what it was," he said. "It just looked like a piece of pipe to me."

Weber called the Tice fire department to ask what to do with it. Tice passed word on to the Southwest Florida Bomb Squad, which sent someone to inspect it.

"That's when everybody started showing up," Weber said.

Deputies cleared 300 feet around the missile, which was in the Garden St. scrap yard off Metro Parkway just south of Hanson Street.

About 9:30 p.m., two members of the U.S. Army's 766th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit, based at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, arrived. The unit responds throughout Florida when suspected military ordnance is discovered.

"When they informed us that it may contain an explosive, that's when my mentality changed," Weber said. "It wasn't funny anymore."
The link to the story appears to be dead. And when I went to the following link, but apparently it is no longer active:
http://www.news-press.com/news/local_state/040318missle.html, and at this time, their main site appears to have gone down: http://www.news-press.com/news/environment/index.html

C'est la vie. But I think you do have to wonder? I mean, especially if it is actually a military munition, you have to wonder terrorist won't fall into 'terorist' hands, if they can wind up in a scrap yard? And, I guess, how many more are out there?
 
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