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Wellfleet Man Finds 9 Live Military Explosives While Digging In Yard

WELLFLEET (CBS) - A driveway expansion project came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon, when a Wellfleet man uncovered nine military type explosives dating back to World War I.

"To find one is not so much a big surprise around here, but to find nine - that catches your attention," said Wellfleet Fire Chief Richard Pauley.

The State Police Bomb Squad identified the ordnance as four 12"-14" armor piercing anti-tank grenade/shells, two 9" anti-tank type grenade/shells and three smaller target shooting type explosives.

Wellfleet explosives
Explosives found in Wellfleet yard (Image credit Wellfleet Fire)

The State Police Bomb Squad attempted to X-ray all of the explosive devices but were not successful due to the age and thickness of the armor of the larger grenade/shells.

U.S. Navy Bomb Technicians did identify all of the explosive devices as live, highly unstable, military grade and of the World War I era.

Investigators explained that for the safety of the public, it was imperative that each of the devices be destroyed immediately as they created an imminent danger to life and property. Each device was carefully loaded into a DPW dump truck and transported to the town transfer station sandpit. Four separate detonations were required to destroy the nine explosive ordnance. No one was hurt.

It's not unusual for one to occasionally wash up on shore. Back in April 2018, fishermen found an unexploded military projectile.

The bomb squad pulled it up from Cape Cod Bay. In the summer of 2014, State Police found and detonated a World War II artillery shell.

Still, this weekend's discovery stands out.

"We probably respond to one or two of these a year, but this is the first one we've seen certainly in my time here to have so many unexploded shells and of such strength and magnitude," Chief Pauley added.

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