A family in the northeast corner of Maryland got quite a surprise–and a visit from the bomb squad– when they unearthed a World War I-era round in their flower bed this week.
The State Fire Marshal sent a team of bomb technicians and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) responded to Kelly and Shannon Thomas’s home in Bel Air, Harford County to investigate a round the Thomases discovered in their garden.
The family left the round undisturbed until the bomb squad arrived. Technicians determined the unexploded military ordnance was a 37 MKI projectile, which had not been fired and the fusing mechanism was still intact.
Bomb technicians and ATF safely conducted an emergency disposal of the potentially dangerous round on the scene, the Fire Marshal’s office says.
The home is just north of the Bush River’s headwaters and about ten miles as the crow flies from Aberdeen Proving Ground, where Maryland has a long history of military testing. It’s not unheard of for unexploded military ordnance to be in the Bay and surrounding waters, and occasionally come to the surface.
The State Fire Marshal warns Marylanders that the chance of stumbling upon military ordnance is not limited to tidal waters. Even devices dating back to World War I and World War II “pose the same threat as the day they were originally manufactured.”
Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci reminds anyone who does find something that looks like military ordnance to practice the three R’s: “Recognize that any suspicious objects found should not be touched under any circumstances. Retreat or carefully leave the area. Report immediately what was found and the approximate location to a 911 dispatcher”.
-Meg Walburn Viviano