Here's why the Army bomb squad has been called to an Edinburgh home today

The scene at Cramond this afternoon.
The scene at Cramond this afternoon.
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The Army bomb disposal unit has been called to a home in north Edinburgh today to dispose of two potentially dangerous self-activating fire extinguishers designed for use during World War II in the event of a bombing.

Police were initially called to the property in Trinity Road on Tuesday night after the antique devices were found in the attic.

The bomb disposal unit was called to a home in Edinburgh's Trinity Road. Pic: Google Maps

The bomb disposal unit was called to a home in Edinburgh's Trinity Road. Pic: Google Maps

READ MORE: ‘Explosive’ antique fire extinguisher destroyed

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit was then called to attend on Wednesday to remove the extinguishers, which have since been taken to Cramond beach to be safely disposed of.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Police in Edinburgh responded to an address in Trinity Road at around 8.40pm on Tuesday 13th August after two antique fire extinguishers with detonation charges were found within an attic space of an unoccupied house.

"The EOD will be attending on Wednesday 14th August to safely dispose of the items."

A neighbour in the street told the Evening News: "One of the residents went into the attic following the heavy rainfall as a couple of the pan tiles had slipped. He was checking for a leak when he saw a box with the word 'fire extinguishers' on it and looked inside. There were six inside and he took one downstairs and laid it on his living room floor.

"He called the fire service to see if they wanted it for their museum and they said 'no - we're calling the police, it's dangerous', which gave him quite a shock.

"They are self-activated extinguishers designed to be laid in an attic space during the war when Britain was being bombed. If an incendiary bomb started a fire the bicarbonate of soda in the extinguisher would pop with quite an explosion and spread a powder onto the flames.

"It's been quite a drama and I just happy no one has been hurt."

Selfac Extinguishers

Selfac extinguishers were made by FE Proprietary Co Ltd of London. Material used in their construction included copper, aluminium, iron, lead, paper, cardboard, and plastic. Clearly this list excludes the contents.

They measure approximately 330 mm x 180 mm, and weigh 5.065 kg (just over 11 lbs in the units of the time). The iron content appears to have been a stand or mounting that was screwed to a wall or similar, to hold the extinguisher itself.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service experts have stated previously that Selfac extinguishers contain bicarbonate of soda and a central explosive charge.

Many of them were distributed during World War II. They were often placed in roof spaces, and used to contain fires by dispersing the fire retardant powder over the flames when triggered by intense heat.

The experts have warned that discoveries of selfac extinguishers were not uncommon but these devices remain dangerous due to a small detonator inside which reacts to heat or heavy movement.