It might seem more like a problem for the shores of Normandy or Iwo Jima, but local police officials say World War II-era unexploded ordnance has twice turned up in Mountain View recently.
On Thursday morning, July 9, police officers were called out to Calderon Avenue when a decades-old mortar shell was discovered at a construction site. Workers at the site found the bombshell under a tree, but it was unclear if the bomb had been sitting there for years, or if someone had recently dumped it, said Mountain View Police spokeswoman Shino Tanaka.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad was called and they treated the mortar as a viable explosive. An alert was sent out to the neighborhood, warning residents not to be alarmed if they hear a loud boom. Bomb experts were able to safely detonate the mortar, said Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. James Jensen.
"It was unclear if it was still inert or not, but for public safety we destroyed the item," he said.
Another bombshell of a discovery came just last month. On the afternoon of June 8, an unidentified Mountain View man came into the lobby of the police station, saying he had ammunition in need of disposal. Usually this means bullets or shell casings, explained Tanaka, but his ammunition turned out to be an 80mm artillery shell, a hefty 8-pound projectile.
The man declined to say how exactly he acquired the item, but he loaded it into his vehicle and brought it there to the station.
To be safe, local police decided to cordon off the entire parking lot at the corner of Villa and Franklin streets. Tanaka emphasized that it is considered extremely unsafe to transport explosive materials by vehicle.
"You have to super, super careful. You don't know if these things are dangerous," she warned. "We treat everything as if it's live, because you just don't know. God forbid it goes off."
The county bomb squad transported the artillery shell to a vacant parking lot off Shoreline Boulevard, where it was destroyed.
In her two years working with the local police, Tanaka said this was the first instance she had heard of old bombs turning up in Mountain View.