A potentially explosive situation was avoided at a Massachusetts home last week after a corroded metal ball was uncovered, only for a bomb squad to realize it was a cannonball, police said Thursday.
The Civil War-era ordnance, about four inches across, was found by people who live at the home in Mansfield and called police on July 7, state police said. The family had been cleaning out the home of their father, an avid antiquer, Mansfield police said last week.
The state police bomb squad arrived about 9:10 p.m. and scanned the object with X-rays, which were consistent with cannonballs — it had a void in the middle that was filled with potentially explosive material, according to the Massachusetts State Police.
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The troopers decided the object was a cannonball from the Civil War era that could be live, so they decided to neutralize it. They took it to a safe place and blew it up.
"The manner in which the ball exploded when countercharged confirmed the Troopers’ suspicions that it was indeed live and still could have posed a threat," police said in a statement.
Mansfield police said the cannonball was detonated about 10 p.m. at their shooting range: "We want to apologize to our neighbors for the late-night noise," they wrote on Facebook.