1917 artillery round detonated in Tuolumne County

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.

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.