Museum display proves no dud
For as long as anyone can remember, a World War I hand grenade and two French airplane bombs have been on display at Marion’s museum.
Friday, they were detonated at the south county shop by soldiers from Fort Riley’s explosive ordinance division.
The explosion, augmented by C-4 plastic explosive added by the bomb squad to endure detonation, rattled windows more than two miles away.
Museum director and curator Aubrey Wheeler said she noticed the weapons on a bottom shelf of a display case Friday morning.
“There was a pin still in the WWI hand grenade,” Wheeler said.
She asked police to have a look at them.
Assistant chief Steve Janzen said the department summoned the bomb squad to check the ordnance.
“Our typical response is to have Fort Riley bomb squad look at any explosives,” Janzen said.
When the soldiers arrived, they decided the hand grenade was still active but were pretty sure the French airplane bombs were not any danger, Wheeler said.
“They took them anyway,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler was still at the museum when the explosion sounded.
“Today was an exciting day,” she said.
Janzen, deputy Travis Wilson, and sheriff’s investigator Derrick Fetrow blocked entrance to the county shop and three paramedics stood by before the explosion.
Janzen said the last time a bomb squad had to be summoned was eight years ago when a hand grenade was carried into the police department.
News reports at the time said the Wichita bomb squad detonated that one at Martin Marietta quarry.
Wheeler said she didn’t know how long the ordnance had been at the museum or who donated it, but a similar incident would not be happen again.
“We do not accept explosives like that,” she said.
Last modified June 10, 2021