Police in London, Ont., say someone put a live First World War-era artillery shell out with the trash on Tuesday.
The shell contained more than 10 kilograms of live explosives and had to be destroyed by bomb experts at Canadian Forces Base Borden.
I was like, ‘Holy heck, eh?’– Danny Vellow
The vintage piece of ordnance was found by Danny Vellow after someone had placed it with the curbside trash for pickup in the city’s west end on Tuesday.
Vellow said he had jumped over the fence in his backyard to go to a doctor’s appointment, when he stumbled across the 100-year-old explosive.
“Lo and behold, I almost stepped on the bomb. I was like, ‘Holy heck, eh?'”
Vellow, who is a retired iron worker, said he was worried the explosive was live, so he called the police. When an officer pulled up he asked if Vellow had reported a bomb.
“Yeah, I said, ‘it’s right there.’ He looks down and he’s only three feet away from it,” Vellow said, noting the officer moved his vehicle “way down on the other side of the street.”
Officers stayed on the street for most of the day in order to ensure nobody disturbed the explosive and risk accidentally setting it off.
Vellow believes the shell may have been left by the landlord who owned the house and had recently evicted a couple of tenants who weren’t paying rent.
“They were only there for four months,” he said. “I don’t who they are. Those idiots had that in their house.”
“We’re grateful the homeowner contacted us,” police spokesperson Const. Sandasha Bough said Wednesday.
More common than you might think
Police sent the bomb squad, and contacted Canadian Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal at CFB Borden, which identified the ordnance as an artillery shell from the First World War era.
“They did let us know it was live,” police spokesperson Const. Sandasha Bough said. “It had between 20 and 30 pounds of explosives inside.”
Bough said while finding military-grade explosives is more common in Europe, where much of the two world wars were fought, finding historical artifacts of this nature does happen from time to time.
“There are old military ordinance and firearms out there. Some people collect them, have them, they’ve been passed down from generation to generation and you don’t know if it’s live,” Bough said.
Because there’s no way of telling if the explosive is live until it’s too late, Bough said police want to remind the public not to handle anything that might resemble a historical piece of ordnance or ammunition and instead, call 911.