Someone poking around with a metal detector in Tennessee discovered the type of historical artifact best left alone: a live and “unstable” World War II mortar round.
It happened Monday in Lebanon, Tennessee, about 40 miles northeast of Nashville, the Lebanon Police Department said in a Facebook post.
“The mortar was too unstable to move a long distance, so it was moved to a safe area and detonated,” the department wrote. “The blast was heard from a distance, which caused alarm for many residents.”
A photo taken before the bomb was detonated showed it was caked with fresh mud, indicating the finder dug it out of the ground without realizing the risk.
Investigators have a theory for how the bomb ended up behind the Hartmann Plantation apartments.
It was “left over from when the area was used as training grounds during WWII,” police said on Facebook. “The area was searched for other mortars before the scene was released and deemed safe.”
Fort Campbell, an army facility near the Tennessee-Kentucky border, sent experts “to confirm it was indeed a live mortar round” and the Tennessee Highway Patrol detonated the explosive, police said.
The department did not identify the person who was metal detecting in the area or what the person was looking for behind the apartments.
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