ORLANDO, Fla. — Army Corps of Engineer workers will inspect 2,100 acres of property in a community over fears mustard gas and toxic chemicals are buried under homes.
Some Orlando homeowners at an Englewood Park development in Azalea Park and surrounding areas are believed to be living on land formally used by the Air Force as a World War II-era gas and decontamination testing range.
Recently found photographs of the former Orlando Range and Chemical Yard depict bombings and bomb craters scarring the ground, an official said.
Homeowners fear gas could be buried near or underneath their homes.
“That is worrisome, any time you hear about chemicals,” homeowner Richard Bosen said.
The latest concerns are over a different stretch of property than where crews recently found live bombs and munitions buried near homes and Odyssey Middle School.
The new area spans 16 football fields near Goldenrod Road and Curry Ford Road. It is located about five miles north of Odyssey Middle School and former home of the Pinecastle Jeep Range — a World War II bombing facility.
The area was used in the 1940s to train soldiers and pilots for combat, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Information about the mustard gas and chemicals has surprised homeowners.
“We found out about this a month or so ago after we bought the house,” resident Jason Talbert said. “So we closed on the house and the next thing we know, we’re sitting in the zone here and it’s scary.”
Recently, a Local 6 investigation uncovered documents that revealed the area was once a testing ground for military soldiers.
“Nobody ever said anything to us, the developers or the people building the homes,” Bosen said. “You got to worry about it when you are not informed.”
About 150 residents attended a community meeting Thursday night at the Engelwood Neighborhood Center concerning the fears.
The U.S. Army Corps plans to start inspecting the area in January, Local 6 reported.