Live shell defused at Ravenna site

By Justin Boyd Record-Courier staff writer Published:

According to Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley, the shell was discovered at the Portage County Historical Society on North Chestnut Street and subsequently transported to Jones Brothers Oil Co. at 244 W. Central Ave. in Ravenna.

"Somebody brought it to their (the historical society's) attention that it might be a live round," Kaley said.

The shell was about 10 to 12 inches high and 3 to 4 inches in diameter, he said.

Kaley could not say how the historical society came to have the shell or why it was moved to Jones Brothers. Officials of the society and the Ravenna firm were unavailable for comment Friday.

The sheriff's office notified the Portage County Emergency Management Agency, which called the ATF in Youngstown. ATF agents arrived at the Central Avenue site at about 2 p.m.

"I took the nose out of the shell out to make it safe," said Dennis McCallister, a certified explosives handler with the ATF.

McCallister said he could not identify the shell or its age with certainty but speculated that it might have been designed to pierce armor because of its military color code.

"It was black, and black is supposed to be armor-piercing, but it could have been repainted," he said.

McCallister said he found no fuse in the shell. "Probably whoever had it stored the shell and the fuse separated," he said.

At about 3:30 p.m., ATF officials transported the shell to the Ravenna Arsenal, where it will be stored until a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team can identify and dispose of it Monday, McCallister said.

Ravenna city police and fire units were on hand at Jones Brothers during the event. The sheriff's office is handling the investigation because the historical society museum is located in Ravenna Township.

McCallister said Friday's incident is not uncommon.

"We do this regularly," he said. "It's not unusual that military ordnance is turned over to us."

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