07/09/13 4:29pm
07/09/2013 4:29 PM
Suffolk Sheriff's new marine boat

COURTESY PHOTO | Marine 41 will be available to all East End marine units.

While residents celebrated Fourth of July weekend with fireworks, a team of law enforcement and explosives experts from across the East End were setting off a different kind of explosion: unexploded ordnance from World War II that was discovered off Gardiners Island Friday afternoon.

A group of federal officials doing a bird count discovered the unexploded weapons near Gardiners Point Island, located about five miles east of Orient Point, said Sgt. John Andrejack, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office marine unit.

Suffolk County police were called to the scene about 12:50 p.m., police said.

Authorities believe the ordnance was uncovered by superstorm Sandy last fall. It was not immediately clear what type of explosives were discovered or where on the island they were found.

The area, nicknamed “The Ruins,” is a destroyed Spanish-American War-era fort that was used for target practice during World War II.

The East Hampton Marine Patrol assisted the Suffolk County police bomb squad, which detonated the explosives while officers from Riverhead and Southold police departments helped to secure a safe perimeter, authorities said.

Vessel 41, the county marine unit’s newest ship —designed to respond to nuclear, chemical or biological attacks or accidents — was activated for the operation, Sgt. Andrejack said.

The ordnance was detonated without incident, officials said.

psquire@timesreview.com