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Arsenal hopes to clean up from bomb blast in 1943



Published: Mon, October 23, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Army is clearing contamination out of the remaining acres.

RAVENNA -- A blast that happened 63 years ago could still affect people who live near the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant.

The plant, commonly known as the Ravenna Arsenal, experienced a bomb blast at the height of World War II that scattered debris over more than 600 acres.

Eleven workers were killed in the March 24, 1943, blast while they were loading 41,000 pounds of cluster bombs.

Some of the debris was blasted over the arsenal's fence and landed in Freedom Township.

Now, arsenal officials are trying to determine whether there is any unexploded ordnance left from the blast.

Records examined

Historical records are being reviewed to determine where the blast occurred, officials said at ammunition plant's restoration advisory board meeting Sept. 27.

Anyone who thinks he or she has unexploded ordnance or knows where it is should contact authorities.

The arsenal officially closed in 1992, leaving behind 307 units that made up its 12 production lines.

The arsenal was established in 1940, when the Army reserved 21,418 acres for the construction of two facilities: The Ravenna Ordnance Plant near Ravenna and the Portage Ordnance Depot near Windham.

The two facilities were combined into one during World War II, when the arsenal became widely known for improving the manufacture of TNT.

No more weapons

The weapons-making part of the arsenal officially closed in 1992, and between 1999 and 2002 the Army transferred 19,938 acres to the National Guard.

The Army is clearing contamination out of the remaining acres it controls under the supervision of the Ohio EPA.

Eventually the plan is to clean up the entire facility and hand it over to the National Guard to use as a training facility.




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