An anonymous tip to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office led to the discovery of what was believed to be an old but still-live hand grenade in a tree on the 700 block of Loop Road off Happy Creek Road in Warren County, Va.
According to a November 10 press release the information given to the sheriff’s office on November 7 was “that 10 years earlier some kids had entered an abandoned home on the property and found a hand grenade and placed that hand grenade in a tree on the property.”
Information gathered by WCSO Lt. Gordon Foster from a citizen “with knowledge” of the original incident indicated the grenade found by area children was placed 16 years ago and was the only device found by the children at that time.
After blocking off the involved section of Loop Road, personnel from the Sheriff’s Office and the county Fire Marshall’s Office investigated the scene. What appeared to be a hand grenade was discovered.
“The grenade appeared to have been in place for an extended period of time as the tree had grown around it,” the WCSO press release said of what was discovered. County officials then contacted the Virginia State Police Bomb Squad, which in turn sought the involvement of the United States Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit from Fort Belvoir.
Responding to the scene, the military’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit determined that removing the device, which was believed to be a "pre-Vietnam era" military-issue ordinance, could not safely be extricated from the tree. So an initial controlled detonation was performed at approx. 9:30 p.m. on November 7. The sheriff’s office said that the location of the tree was remote enough from surrounding residences that with the cordoning off of the area there was no consequent risk to surrounding homes and residents.
After removing the involved section of the tree the grenade was lodged in, Explosives Disposal personnel decided the device might very well still be live. The grenade and removed portion of the tree was removed to a secure location where “a second controlled detonation was done by the Unit … to dispose of remaining explosives brought … at approx. 10:30 p.m.” Lt. Foster said the Ft. Belvoir team had to dispose of the unused explosives because once they are checked out from base, they cannot be returned and have to be destroyed.
“No other devices were located” by a search of the area conducted by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Warren County Fire Marshalls Office and a Virginia State Police explosive K9 team the sheriff’s office stated.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact Lt. Foster, Investigations, Warren County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 635-7100.
Dan McDermott contributed to this report.
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