Friday, April 25, 2008

You never know what you might find....

To follow up on last night's CERT class, this story from todays Union Leader newspaper up in New Hampshire highlights the fact you never know what you may find in someone's house:

PELHAM -- A Pelham man who decided to take a 60-year-old artillery shell to the fire station yesterday afternoon got a shock when the bomb squad was summoned and downtown shut down.
"I didn't want to throw it in the Dumpster," Curt St. Onge, 39, said in a telephone interview last night. "I wanted to take care of it properly."
But when firefighters saw the 22-inch-long vintage Navy artillery shell riding shotgun in St. Onge's work van at 4:35 p.m., they alerted police and evacuated the fire station.
"The pin's still in it, so one would assume it's live, but it's nothing to play with," Fire Chief Michael Walker said.
Firefighters removed engines and ambulances from the station's garage while police cleared traffic in front of the station on Old Bridge Street. Old Bridge Street North was shut down in front of the station and traffic diverted around the town common.
After an hour, the New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad arrived and quickly determined that the round would be safe for transport and decommissioning. The street was reopened at 6:40 p.m.
"These guys knew once they looked at it what they were dealing with," Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said of the World War II-era shell, which is 6 inches in diameter.
St. Onge said he bought the shell more than 20 years ago at a military antique show. It had sat quietly in his garage for years. He decided yesterday it was time to get rid of the artifact.
"I wasn't expecting this," he said of the emergency response. "I'm kind of surprised."
Roark said St. Onge wouldn't face any repercussions from the incident because it was apparent that his actions were well-intended.
"He thought the right thing to do was to take it to a fire department to dispose of it, but it clearly was not safe for him to transport it himself," Roark said.
Roark further advised residents looking to get rid of old ammunition or "explosive-type souvenirs" kept as family heirlooms to call police.
"Please do not transport the items," he said in a written statement issued last night.

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