Around 650 people had to leave their homes in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia while experts diffused a 500-pound American bomb under a house on Monday afternoon, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper reported.
Some annoyed residents refused to budge and locked themselves inside, forcing police to break down three doors in the 250-metre evacuation radius.
“A few people returned to their houses, locked the door and did not react,” Bochum police spokeswoman Kristina Räß told the WAZ.
Officers who forced open one door found the body of a 51-year-old man. His mother who lived with him was suffering from dementia and had not realised he was dead, Räß said. The elderly woman was taken into care.
The man’s body was taken to a nearby hospital where it was determined that although he had died of natural causes, his body had been “lying there for some time,” said a spokesman for the fire service.
A two-kilometre traffic jam built up on the A40 motorway which was closed for 40 minutes near the bomb site while the technicians defused it.
Engineers had been working to reach the bomb for two weeks. They dug almost seven metres into the ground underneath the building before sucking the bomb out with a special vacuum device.
More than 70 emergency service personnel and 15 from the German Red Cross helped execute the operation and the all-clear was given later on Monday night.