Residents find mortar rounds and grenades in the woods - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Residents find mortar rounds and grenades in the woods

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus Office of Homeland Security is sending a warning to residents in the Columbus area on what to do if you should find an explosive device around town.

Columbus is a military town, located just a few miles from Fort Benning, Georgia. Lieutenant Brad Hicks, Director, Columbus Office of Homeland Security says, "it's very common—not to say soldiers are bringing it off Fort Benning, but we do have hunters that go onto Fort Benning in areas they're not suppose to; they find these military ordinances that might not have exploded yet then they bring them off post."

Veterans who may have left their war souvenirs behind may also be a contributing factor, according to Hicks.  "We've had several suspicious packages like pipe bombs, old dynamite, old blasting caps and military ordinances that may be from the Civil War days. We recently recovered cannonballs and different types of World War II ordinances.

Hicks adds that about 40 people called his office in 2009 indicating they'd found explosive devices like a mortar round, training grenades in the woods or near the river.  As a safety precaution, everyone is advised not to touch the device, but to call authorities.

"They think that no one's going to find it and little Johnny or little Susie go playing in the woods and they wind up finding it, that's the danger," added Hicks.

Our News Leader 9 Cameras put some people to the test asking them if they saw a mortar round or a smoke grenade lying on the ground, what they would do:  Sandra Dickey responded, "I would call police and tell them what I saw; I would not touch it."  "I think that's the right thing to do," replied Freddie Culliver.  On the other hand, Valerie Jones said, "Yes, I would touch it out of curiosity."

When a device is located, Hicks says they will use the bomb robot to retrieve the hazardous material and when necessary, officers can dress in bomb suits to help defuse a harmful situation.

If you discover a military ordinance, play it safe and call the Homeland Security Tip Line @ 706-225-4021.

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