Munition depot Vimy

The Vimy Munition Depot

A fire fighter carries a fire hose as he walks past the depot of World War I munitions in Vimy, northern France, Friday April 13 2001.


Musterd Gas Threatens Vimy

In April 2001 more than 12,000 people from Vimy, about 144 km (90 miles) north of Paris were evacuated after mustard gas canisters were discovered leaking.

The French dump contained 173 tonnes of munitions, among them some 16,000 British, German and French shells, nearly all containing highly toxic mustard gas or phosgene.

The site was set up as temporary storage for munition from World War I that is still dug up every year in France. Some 500 tonnes of conventional weapons were removed two years earlier, killing two disposal experts.

The evacuated people had to wait 10 days before they were allowed to return to their homes. The munitions were transported by refrigerated vehicles to a military camp at Suippes, 200 kilometres (120 miles) to the east, to be restocked in safer conditions.