RAPID RIVER – A Rapid River man became concerned when he began to see deterioration at the front of what he believed was a French mortar round from World War I. He contacted the Michigan State Police Post.
Detective Sgt. Jeremy Hauswirth said he was surprised at what he saw.
“It was an impressive piece of historical equipment. It was a beautiful old bomb,” said Hauswirth. “It was a World War I French mortar round. It was very impressive.”
But it was also live and potentially dangerous.
The round ended up being a French “pneumatic mortar” used in World War I by launching with compressed air. It had an impact fuse at the tip that was designed to detonate on impact with the target.
Hauswirth said the man in Rapid River obtained the mortar several years ago at an estate sale of an elderly veteran. It was one of the items in a box that was auctioned.
The state police bomb squad secured the round.
“The mortar was in a safe spot. It had been placed in a vehicle some distance from the residence. Once I was able to contact the bomb squad they were able to come up with their containment vessel. They placed the mortar in the containment vessel and brought it to a safe location to render it safe,” Hauswirth said.
The round will be x-rayed and probably disposed of at a site downstate.
Hauswirth said people finding explosive devices are not uncommon. He advises people to contact the state police if they discover that they might have an explosive device.