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Bomb squads respond to Parkside home after WWI-era mortar shell found

A military bomb disposal unit from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station removed a mortar shell without incident from the basement of a North Buffalo home shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday, according to Buffalo Police Department spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge.

The explosive, believed to date back to World War I, was discovered Thursday afternoon in the basement of the home in the 1100 block of Parkside Avenue.

Buffalo Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo said that a homeowner found the device, which was deteriorated, in a basement wall behind paneling that had been damaged in flooding last week and was being removed.

"She went to pick it up and it was heavy," Rinaldo said. "She set it on a table and called 911."

Buffalo Police called in the Erie County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad. Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded.

"The Erie County bomb guys run into a lot of World War II munitions, but this wasn't one of them," Rinaldo said.

They took X-rays, which were inconclusive, he said. When they could not find the device in their manuals, they summoned the bomb disposal team from Niagara Falls.

"They couldn't tell whether it was live or not," Rinaldo said.

They brought in a bomb-proof blanket, wrapped it around the mortar and carried it out of the house.

It was expected to undergo further examination.

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