UI crew safely detonates WWII explosive in Catlin

UI crew safely detonates WWII explosive in Catlin

CATLIN — Some residents may have been startled, but no one was injured when the University of Illinois bomb squad detonated what appears to have been some type of World War II explosive on Wednesday night.

Catlin Police Chief Cash Cook said a resident who lives in the 500 block of South Sandusky Street bought a Japanese hand grenade or mortar shell at a rummage sale and put it in his truck. When he showed it to another man earlier that evening, the man told him he thought it was a bomb and it might explode, so they called police.

Cook said police notified the UI bomb squad around 7 p.m. When bomb squad members arrived, they used a robot to remove the item from the truck and took it to a vacant lot. They dug a hole in the ground, put the item and an explosive in the hole, and then detonated both items around 9 p.m.

“This thing has been lying around for 70 years,” Cook said, adding no one knew for sure whether it was live until it exploded. “It blew up and shook some houses on the north end.”

He added no one has reported any damage.

Cook said residents didn’t have to be evacuated because the explosive stayed in the owner’s truck until the bomb squad arrived.