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World War I-era grenade removed from Export auction

| Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

State police removed what was labeled as a German World War I hand grenade from an auction in Export Saturday morning because of fears the explosive device still could detonate, the auctioneer said.

Bill Evans, owner of Bill Evans Auction Service of Murrysville, said state police Trooper Nick Iera removed the cylinder-shaped hand grenade from the auction he was conducting at the Export Fire Hall.

The grenade appeared to be a “potato masher” style that German soldiers were known to use during World War I and II, Evans said.

“I don't know if it was live or not,” Evans said.

The sale attracted about 100 people.

As a precaution, Evans said he used plastic ties to secure what appeared to be the activating trigger for the grenade.

Before the auction, it had been secured with a rubber band, Evans said.

Iera took the grenade to his police cruiser about 10:15 a.m., photographed it and contacted bomb disposal authorities, Evans said.

Iera could not be reached for comment at the state police Kiski Valley barracks, and he did not issue a news release, a police dispatcher said.

A spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Bomb Squad declined to comment whether it had been dispatched to Export on Saturday morning or if it had been asked to detonated the grenade.

A Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety spokesman said the matter was handled by the state police.

The grenade was among military equipment from the estate of a Harrison City man, whose collection was being sold at the auction, Evans said. The auctioneer declined to reveal the owner of the grenade.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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