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Bomb squad detonates live Civil War cannonball found in Maryland

A homeowner contacted officials after being given what seemed to be an unexploded cannonball that a family member had found near the Monocacy Battlefield.
/ Source: NBC News

A bomb squad safely deactivated a live Civil War-era piece of ammunition after it was discovered in Maryland last week.

A homeowner contacted the state fire marshal after being given what seemed to be an unexploded cannonball that a family member found had near the Monocacy Battlefield in Frederick, about 50 miles west of Baltimore. Officials confirmed that the explosive was live.

Bomb squad technicians safely detonated a cannonball from the Civil War in Frederick County, Md.Maryland State Fire Marshal

Bomb technicians moved the cannonball to Beaver Creek Quarry in Hagerstown, where they conducted "an emergency disposal," according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal.

"As proven today, the finding of military ordnance from the Civil War is not uncommon in Maryland, and these devices pose the same threat as the day they were initially manufactured," the fire marshal's office said.

People are encouraged to report such discoveries to the authorities and remember that even vintage artifacts can be deadly.

In 2008, a man who collected Civil War relics died after a cannonball he was trying to restore exploded. The next year, a Pennsylvania man was charged after he accidentally fired a 2-pound cannonball into his neighbor's home. No one was injured in that incident.

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