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Idaho woman gave sheriff grenade she thought was fake, but it turned out to be live

Shirley Coughlin thought she was doing the right thing on Friday, when she drove a grenade about 6 miles across town to the Valley County Sheriff’s Office in Cascade.

Coughlin found the grenade among items in her late brother’s trailer — and she presumed it was fake.

But it wasn’t.

“Deputies went with her to her vehicle parked in front of the Sheriff’s Office and discovered the grenade appeared to be live,” a news release Friday said.

No one was hurt.

“Mrs. Coughlin was completely mortified that it was real. She apologized profusely,” Valley County Sheriff’s Capt. Jason Speer said. “She thought it was totally safe, like a trophy or wall mount or mantelpiece.”

It was determined to be a Mark 2 grenade, which were made from 1918 to the mid-1960s, Speer said.

Sheriff’s officials said they then quickly cordoned off the area, put out a Code Red alert message to the public and shut down county buildings. The Cascade School District was notified, and students were prohibited from the area. School buses and barricades were used to block streets.

And a bomb squad was dispatched: the 366th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base, which arrived just before 3 p.m.

The ordnance disposal team conducted a controlled detonation of the grenade just after 4 p.m. at a ranch site offered by Valley County Commissioner Elting Hasbrouck.

Coughlin allowed investigators to look through her brother’s trailer — which was moved to her residence after his death — for other dangerous items, but they did not find any.

Valley County Sheriff Patti Bolen urged the public to call the Sheriff’s Office if they find anything that could be dangerous to the public, and noted that deputies will come to assess the items.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413