SALT LAKE CITY -- Friday afternoon, an unexploded military mortar turned up in a donation bin at the Deseret Industries Thrift Store in Salt Lake City.
“This was actually found in a recycling bin,” said Staff Sgt. David Olson of Hill Air Force Base. “So a man was sorting through some stuff. Reached in, grabbed a pile of scrap, had this in his hand and said, 'that's not a soda can.’”
Once discovered, The Salt Lake City Police and Fire Departments were notified, and in keeping with protocol, Hill Air Force Base was notified, and responded as well, since the object in question was of military origin.
It was determined to be a 60mm Vietnam War Era mortar round.
“There's no telling how it came to be where it was,” Olson said. “It could have been somebody's war trophy.”
The response team from Hill Air Force Base quickly determined the mortar at Deseret Industries to be a device which had been previously disabled.
“Had this been real and had this gone off, as close as it is to I-15, and as close as it was to a lot of houses, the amount of devastation is...I don't wanna think about it,” Olson said.
The Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team at Hill responds to similar calls over a vast region which includes much of Utah, and parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.