Mortar found in home destroyed

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LAKE HALLIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Donna Peterson thought she knew her neighbors in the 11 years they lived next door.

But in that time, there was one small thing they never mentioned. Something Donna learned when the neighbor’s house was getting cleaned out Thursday.

"Everyone was coming and looking at it and staying as far away from it as they could, wondering what it could be," Peterson said.

It was a 1967 mortar. But it is the next part that gave everybody the chills.

"Someone took a look at it, and I have no idea who he is, said well it's still fully loaded," she said.

Turns out Peterson and the people living nearby, were also neighbors to a live explosive.

"I was like oh my gosh what is that, and I saw it and said is it gonna blow up? Well they said we don't know, they weren't going near it, they were staying away from it," she said.

Peterson says they called police to check it out. They talked it over, and eventually came to a decision.

"There happened to be another person there who had past military experience, he recognized what it was and felt it was best to remove it from the home," Lake Hallie Police Chief Cal Smokowicz said.

He said it was taken to another location overnight. Then on Friday, an explosives division of the military came to take care of it.

The mortar was taken to a rural site and destroyed. Smokowicz said it could be heard a mile away.

He says you could see the cloud of smoke from the quarter mile away police were required to stand back. And in just a few moments, a potential threat was gone.

"If there was an accidental discharge it could have potentially caused a lot of damage," he added.

Donna Peterson is glad it did not come to that, just still surprised about the house next door.

"They were good neighbors but I didn't know they had something like this that could go off," she added.

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