Live mortar shell found by Motor City Blight Busters

Some volunteers set out to remove Detroit eyesores and instead stumble onto a potentially explosive situation.

While battling blight in the city, members of Motor City Blight Busters discovered a live mortar round.

"I thought it was fake," said Jamie Warfield. "This can't be real, it's impossible."

But it was.

The non-profit group takes pride in the city of Detroit, cleaning up one property at a time. But in the last 27 years, no one has ever seen anything like this.

Hoping to move this abandoned motor home, Warfield looked under the hood for a battery and instead he found a bomb.

"When I took it to Gordon, he panicked like, 'Jamie what are you doing, you have a bomb,'" Warfield said. "I'm like 'Oh my God."

Gordon Soderberg is a fellow blight buster with a military background - and he knew exactly what he was looking at.

"A live shell that size would have taken this building out," Soderberg said. "Standing at the door there with this object in their hand. Which appeared to be a 60 millimeter mortar shell with a rusted spring around the cap. And I said, 'Oh,' I took it out of their hands and said 'You guys leave, I'll call police.'"

The motor home was parked in the driveway, no one knows for how long. This property was surrounded by homes with families and nobody knew it was there and could have detonated at anytime."

"Oh my god, oh no." said neighbor Kathy Gentry. "That's freaky."

Detroit police and fire arrived and confirmed what Soderberg suspected - a live mortar - often used in the battlefield, was parked in this abandoned lot.

They cordoned off the area and called the Detroit bomb squad, which safely disposed the bomb.

"Forty years of abandonment in a city still declining in population," Soderberg said. "Who knows what we will find."

They might not know what they will find, but Warfield says next time he'll know how to handle it. Better yet, he won't.

"If I ever see that again I would call police from the jump," Warfield said. "I'm no super hero trying to kill myself."
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