Long-lost grenade found, detonated

U.S. Army explosives experts last Friday detonated a live grenade that was found embedded between two large oak trees on abandoned property in Front Royal. Photo courtesy of Warren County Sheriffs Office

U.S. Army explosive experts detonated a live grenade Friday that was found embedded between two large oak trees on abandoned property in the 700 block of Loop Road in Front Royal.

Lt. Gordon Foster of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said members of the department  discovered the grenade after fielding an anonymous tip that reported some minors had set the device between the trees many years ago.

“They had actually grown around a portion of the grenade,” Foster said of the trees.

Foster said the Sheriff’s Office called the Virginia State Police bomb squad and the Army explosive ordinance disposal unit at Fort Belvoir.

The Army experts determined that the grenade could not be removed safely from between the trees. The explosives unit detonated the grenade between the trees at about 9:30 p.m. About an hour later, the explosives team detonated the remainder of explosives that the team brought to the scene for use in destroying the grenade.

The Army explosives team concluded after the explosion that the grenade had been a live device.

Foster said the explosions were distant enough from other homes in the area that they constituted no risk to the public.

Foster described the grenade as probably dating back to the Vietnam or World War II eras.

“The speculation we have is that it was most likely a souvenir” kept by a private individual, Foster said.

Foster said the initial tip came from someone with detailed, first-hand knowledge of the actions of the juveniles who placed the grenade between the trees. The tipster said the juveniles found the grenade when they entered an abandoned house on the same property as the oak trees.

The tipster said the incident occurred 10 years ago. But Foster said he spoke with someone else who knew of the incident and told him the children found the grenade about 16 years ago.

No other devices were located on the property. Foster asked anyone with further information about the case to contact him at 540-635-7100.

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to say that anyone who finds any kind of suspicious device should contact law enforcement or 911,” Foster said.

<em>Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or <a href=“mailto:jbeck@nvdaily.com”>jbeck@nvdaily.com</a></em>