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Maryland couple finds live WWI ordnance while digging in their flower bed

A Maryland couple working on their flower bed found quite a surprise Tuesday.

Kelly and Shannon Thomas unearthed a WWI-era 37 MKI projectile at their home in Harford County Tuesday, let it sit overnight, and contacted the Harford County Sheriff’s Office to report it yesterday, according to a media release from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Upon arrival, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office requested bomb technicians from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The technicians determined that the potentially dangerous round had not yet been fired and disposed of it on the scene.

The discovery of these types of ordnance from WWI and WWII is not uncommon in Maryland, according to the media release. Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver Alkire attributed this to the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) nearby.

“Their base is right along the shoreline where they’ve tested ammunition for many years,” he said. “Typically, we’ll find ordnance on the shores after a heavy rain.”

As for finding unexploded ammunition inland, they think it might have been dirt that was removed from APG and relocated that coincidentally had an ordnance in it, according to Alkire. This means byproducts of the proving ground could be scattered throughout the land and shore.

As for the frequency of finding them, “it’s not a matter of when, it’s a matter of if they’ll be found,” he said.

If you locate a military ordnance, Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci says to follow the three R’s: “Recognize that any suspicious objects found should not be touched under any circumstances. Retreat or carefully leave the area. Report immediately what was found and the approximate location to a 911 dispatcher.”

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