If you find a grenade in a bag, it’s probably best to not pull the pin and risk lighting its internal fuse. Such is what a family in Indiana found out the hard when a man was killed and his two teenage children injured after someone pulled the pin on a grenade found in his grandfather’s belongings exploded.
NBC News, describing the day’s terrifying events and what the sheriff’s department deputies found when they arrived at the home, said:
The family was looking through a grandfather’s belongings at the northwestern Indiana home when they found a hand grenade. The device detonated when someone reportedly pulled its pin, the sheriff’s department says.
The father was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead. His two children, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman, were taken to an area hospital with shrapnel wounds.
The Porter County Bomb Squad responded to the area to secure it and determine if there were any other explosive devices, according to the sheriff’s department.
The Warfare History Network notes that some live grenades are still found and turn up, potentially posing a danger to the unaware, as appears to have been the case here. Describing the issue in that 2011 article, the site said:
Former World War I battlefields were, and still are, littered with grenades. Locals deactivate and sell them as souvenirs to the many visitors to the sites. This brings up a very important point. Although vintage grenades do come up for sale and typically have long been rendered safe, live grenades still occasionally show up for sale from private collectors. It should be stressed that collectors should not try to deactivate grenades found on battlefields. Such should be reported to authorities, and live grenades should be handed over to the police for proper destruction.
That said, there are plenty of safe grenades to collect. The biggest danger is that copies have been produced for decades and are often passed off as the real deal. Likewise, the United States and Great Britain, as well as other nations, produced training versions. Such copies have created a virtual minefield for collectors, even those who have collected for years.
“Reproductions are always a problem where items have gained value,” says Bryngelson, who adds that some reproductions are now valuable as well, and that some collectors willingly accept a replica to fill a hole, provided they know it is a replica. One example is the rare Turkish Infantry No. 2 grenade, known to have been recently made in the United Kingdom. The only known original example of the fuse assembly is in the Imperial War Museum in London.
So, if you find a grenade in a bag…check to make sure that it’s not full of high explosives that will fill the room with shrapnel before pulling the pin and flipping the spoon of the grenade, potentially igniting the fuse. Even if it feels ridiculous, doing so is far better than accidentally blowing up a house and wounding or killing yourself and those you love.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
"*" indicates required fields