Diana Landa said she had hoped to keep some part of the antique-looking object she uncovered while helping her parents clean out their Meridian shed. The Mountain Home Air Force Base bomb squad quickly quashed that dream.
“They said it was highly explosive and would have to be detonated,” Landa said of what appeared to be an old artillery shell.
Landa said she and her parents found the object about a week ago as they went through an old aluminum shed on her parents’ property. They hardly use the structure.
The Kuna resident said she looked at the bottom of the object and found Nazi insignia, along with the date 1938. Her parents, who have lived in the home for about 25 years, said they had no idea what the shell was or how it got there.
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So Landa did what anyone might do with a neat piece of history: She took it home.
She was wary enough of the mystery object to set it in her own shed in Kuna, where it was a fair distance from her house. It wasn’t until she told some co-workers about her find that she realized just how potentially dangerous it was, she said.
“He’s, like, really into history,” Landa said of one co-worker who first raised the alarm. “He was saying it could be an explosive and how unstable these things can be if they’re old.”
That’s when Landa really started to worry.
“I was just paranoid, thinking about my neighbors. I didn’t want to be responsible for an accident,” she said.
She called the Idaho Historical Society to try to get some more information. They advised her to call the police. An officer who came out to her house called in a city bomb squad, which on arrival told Landa “the military had to take it away.”
That’s how Landa ended up with the big story of her Thursday evening, which she shared on Facebook.
“The Military Explosives Team from Mountain Home just left my house. We found an old 1938 German Nazi Artillery Shell, with the propellant still on,” she wrote.
A public affairs spokeswoman from the base confirmed Friday that an explosive ordnance disposal team removed an object from Landa’s house Thursday. She identified it as a World War II-era 37mm German round that “was found to be hazardous.” It was destroyed via detonation, she said.
Landa said watching the team remove the foot-long shell was slightly surreal. The experts first X-rayed the device, sending Landa far from the shed for safety’s sake.
“We stepped outside the house out front. They’re professionals, and they seemed very safe about it,” she said.
Landa said the ordnance crew reminded her that it’s always better to be safe than sorry with antique military objects like the one she found.
After a short 20 minutes or so, the excitement was over, Landa said. But it’s a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” that won’t leave her anytime soon.
“It’s a little scary,” she said. “Now I think about it, we should’ve been more careful. But we didn’t know anything about weapons.”