A man was reportedly killed and his two teenage children wounded after a hand grenade exploded inside their northwest Indiana home on Saturday.
The family was going through a grandfather’s belongings in Lakes of the Four Seasons when they found the explosive device and someone pulled out the pin, causing it to detonate, several local media outlets reported citing the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.
The man, who was not immediately identified, was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead while his 17-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter were taken to a hospital with shrapnel wounds.
A local bomb squad responded to the home to ensure no other explosive devices existed.
It is illegal under the National Firearms Act to possess a live grenade. The FBI has warned that these explosive devices, known as military ordnance, can remain intact for decades and then explode without notice.
“Usually what happens is when a veteran passes away, and family members are cleaning out their items, usually in a basement, garage or attic, they’ll come across something that they know or suspect is a military ordnance,” Special Agent Patrick Carolan, a bomb technician with the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office, said in a news release last year. “They call their local police, and we work with the police department’s bomb squad.”
The FBI’s St. Louis Field Office said it receives about a call per week regarding suspected military ordnance. The frequency of these calls has risen in recent years due to elderly veterans dying, it said.
Most of the devices found come from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, or the Gulf War, and were either brought home from combat service or purchased later, the FBI said.
Carolan encouraged anyone who suspects they have such a device to call their local police department to be safe.
“We’d much rather come take a look at it and have it be nothing. We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said.