Bomb squad officials detonated a 1917 artillery round after the military mortar shell was found Monday morning at a Sonora auto body repair business, according to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department.
About 11 a.m., employees at the repair shop reported they found the artillery round cleaning a shed at the business in the 13000 block of Tuolumne Road, according to deputy Paul Tualla, a sheriff’s spokesman.
Knowing it was an unstable explosive, sheriff’s Sgt. A.J. Ford asked for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad to respond and handle the device. Tuolumne County does not have a bomb squad.
Captain Clay Hawkins, of the Bomb Squad, examined the round and said it was about 3½ inches in diameter and about 21 inches long. Hawkins said the casing was very corroded and unstable.
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The Bomb Squad used software to determine how much distance was needed to safely detonate the explosive.
The squad moved the artillery round to a specialized blast container and drove the container to a field near Camage Drive in Sonora, where the explosive was safely detonated about 5 p.m. without further incident, according to Tualla.
The California Highway Patrol and the Tuolumne County Roads Department assisted with traffic control during the incident.