Bomb squad removes World War I mortar from Rapid River home

RAPID RIVER — A World War I era mortar round located in a Rapid River home was removed Thursday morning by the Michigan State Police bomb squad.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police say a Rapid River man contacted the Gladstone Post to advise that he was in possession of what he believed to be a French mortar round from World War I. The man had come across the round in a box of items purchased at an auction at the estate of an elderly veteran.

After being in possession of the round for a number of years, the man grew concerned when he observed corrosion around the front of the device. Further investigation online raised more concern when the man found that the round did not match pictures of inert rounds.

The information was forwarded to the Michigan State Police bomb squad in Grayling Wednesday. Police say the mortar appeared to have an intact impact fuse and was potentially dangerous. Impact fuses were designed to detonate the device on impact with a target.

The bomb squad responded around 10 a.m. to the location of the mortar, which turned out to be a French pneumatic mortar intended to be launched via compressed air. Police say the mortar was transported to another location in a specialized containment vessel to be rendered safe at a later time.

Troopers say the Michigan State Police regularly receive calls about potentially dangerous explosive devices. People may find blasting caps or war trophies in their homes or the homes of relatives. As explosive devices can become unstable over time or remain deadly decades after they were built, police advise anyone who finds an item that they believe may be explosive to contact law enforcement immediately.

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