Upper Arlington News

Grenades found in basement spark brief evacuation


A temporary scare displaced several residents from their Upper Arlington homes last week after two World War I-era grenades were found in a basement.

For about an hour last Friday, July 18, there were some tense moments for residents of a neighborhood on the city's west side, as well as members of the Upper Arlington Fire Division and the Columbus Bomb Squad.

The safety forces were called in after the UAFD received a report at 9:16 a.m. July 18 that a woman in the 3800 block of Bickley Place had discovered two grenades in a box in her basement while doing some cleaning.

City fire department officials arrived on the scene in less than 10 minutes and took photos of the grenades to provide to the Columbus Bomb Squad, which made its way to the home shortly after, according to UAFD Public Information Officer Dan Kochensparger.

While taking the photos, Kochensparger said, local fire officials became concerned because one of the grenades did not have a pin. The fire department then decided to evacuate several homes in the area as a precaution.

"We felt it was prudent to do some level of evacuation," he said. "We (evacuated) roughly three houses in all directions."

The bomb squad later determined the grenades were of World War I vintage, but that they no longer contained explosive materials and didn't pose a public safety risk.

People in the area were permitted to return to their homes at approximately 10:15 a.m., Kochensparger said, and the grenades were returned to the resident.

He said she didn't know who owned the devices originally.

"They did leave the grenades with the homeowner since they were inert," he said. "We don't know for sure, but we can say this material found in this box was left behind by a previous resident of the house."