COSRICANA (CBS 11 NEWS) – Ubaldo Mijares and his sons were clearing their property near Corsicana this weekend, when Mijares spotted something sticking out of the base of a tree.
He says, “I never seen nothing like that. First time, I think it’s a bottle for oil.”
But when he later showed his boss what he dug up, Mijares recalls, “He said it’s a bomb.”
Specifically, an old artillery shell from a 155 Howitzer.
It stood nearly two feet tall.
The shell dates back to World War II, and could be more than 70 years old.
Mijares called the Navarro County Sheriffs Department, which in turn called the ATF, and Fort Hood, which sent its Explosive Ordinance Disposal team to look at it.
Sheriff Elmer Tanner says, “We certainly believed it was a live round and easily could have caused damage and destruction had it been set off.”
Sheriff Tanner says Mijares is lucky he and his boys weren’t hurt.
Before calling authorities, Mijares had actually picked it up.
He says it was heavy weighing, “60 to 70 pounds.”
The sheriff thinks decades ago, someone buried it under the tree so they’d know where it is.
After making a determination the old shell was safe to move to Fort Hood, members of the explosive ordinance disposal team checked the immediate area, and found there were no other munitions.
The recently elected sheriff, who’s been in law enforcement for nearly 25 years, looked around the property again Wednesday afternoon, and found nothing.
He says, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my law enforcement tenure here in the Sheriff’s office.”
Lieutenant Marc Hurst of Fort Hood says they destroyed the shell.
He says while it was empty and unlikely to have gone off, he says because of its age and its deterioration, it could have done so.
Lieutenant Hurst says if anyone else should find similar artillery shells, they should stay away from them, and call authorities.