Police Find More Live Mortar Shells Where Box Of Ammunition Exploded In Delaware
by Todd Quinones
NEW CASTLE, Del., (CBS) – There are new developments in an explosive situation in Delaware. Police find nearly a dozen more live mortal shells at the scene of where one blew up earlier, critically injuring a man.
Residents were evacuated near Van Dyke Drive in New Castle after bomb experts found a total of 11 other unexploded 40 millimeter projectiles that were about 6-inches long.
“It’s a projectile for a grenade system,” Assistant Delaware State Fire Marshall Michael Chionchio said.
The one that exploded critically injured William Hailey, whose father-in-law lives around the corner.
“I just heard an explosion. I asked my wife ‘did you hear that explosion’ she said ‘yes,’” Oscar Clayton said.
Officials from the Delaware State Fire Marshall’s Office and the ATF used a robot as well as a bomb sniffing dog to search for more explosives.
About 30 homes had to be evacuated after the initial explosion that rocked the Van Dyke Village neighborhood in New Castle (see previous story).
“His face was bloody. His stomach was bloody from shrapnel,” one neighbor said.
A next door neighbor was cleaning out her house when she came across an old ammo box. Not knowing what it was, investigators say she put it out on the curb with other garbage.
“The gentleman from next door asked if he could have the box and took it back to his house and opened it,” Chionichio said.
It’s not clear what set off the explosion just after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Hailey was rushed to Christiana Hospital were his mom was able to visit him.
“She’s not as upset as she was since we talked to him, but hopefully everything will come out alright,” Clayton said.
The bomb squad removed the 11 other unexploded shells and neighbors have been allowed back into their homes.
Hailey is listed in critical but stable condition.
It appears the ammo box may have belonged to a relative of the woman who initially found it inside her home.
The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office ruled that the explosion was an accident.