NBC San Diego / March 5, 2013
An old military artillery shell was discovered in the backyard of an Ocean Beach resident Monday night [March 4].
A woman working in the garden of her new home at Saratoga Avenue and Santa Barbara discovered what looked like an explosive device and called 911.
When bomb experts arrived just after 6:30 p.m., they found the shell in the dirt outside the home.
Working with the U.S. Marine Corps, they determined it was a 75-millimeter shell that did not contain explosives.
“It’s just a big hunk of steel that they fire out of the artillery pieces or the tanks for practice,” said Capt. Eric Kelly with the San Diego Fire Department Bomb Squad.
Kelly, who was holding the shell in his hands after the scene was cleared, estimates it was likely dated between World War I and World War II.
“We get quite a few of these in San Diego. Tierrasanta and the areas around Camp Elliot used to be a WWI and WWII artillery range so we’ve dug up quite a few of these in that area,” he said.
There are different types of shells and some are explosive.
Kelly said it can be very difficult to determine if a shell like this is safe. Because they can be hazardous, he suggests that anyone who may stumble on a similar device should mark the site and then call in the experts before moving the item.
“They’re not in the best shape. Since WWII, they’ve been sitting in dirt. They get rusty. The numbers are all worn off,” Kelly said.
The ordnance will be turned over to the military.