Discovery of projectile triggers evacuation

Teen's father calls police upon finding unexploded device

Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Residents were ordered out of their homes in a quiet Anchorage neighborhood after authorities learned that a young man was keeping an unexploded artillery projectile as a souvenir in his home.

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The teenager's father called police Tuesday after finding the 30-pound projectile that his son picked up near the Alyeska Resort. The Anchorage Police Department, the Anchorage Fire Department and the U.S. Army soon arrived and told residents of about a dozen homes to leave.

The 105 mm projectile was removed and transported in a dozen-vehicle motorcade to a remote section of a city park, where it was detonated in a dirt, motocross pit.

The Federal Aviation Administration closed off flights overhead while the artillery projectile was dealt with, said police Sgt. Jeff Morton, leader of the Anchorage Bomb Squad.

Traffic to the park was stopped and a radius of 3,800 feet was cleared around the motocross pit.

If the round had exploded at the home, it would have taken out the single-story structure and seriously damaged neighbors' homes, Morton said.

"We were lucky this time," he said. "The kid brought it home from 50 miles away and survived."

An official from Alyeska, which likely fired the ordnance during avalanche control, said the projectile contained 4.6 pounds of TNT.

Forest Vent, 18, found the artillery projectile with two friends about a month ago on a summit near the Alyeska Resort.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime find," he said Tuesday afternoon while sitting on his neighbor's lawn watching the drama unfold on his street. "It looked just like a bullet."



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