Man Finds Unexploded WWII Bomb, Drives It to Fire Station Himself

Stumbling on unexploded bombs from World War II literally comes with the territory in some parts of Europe, but one German man's blasé attitude shocked even emergency workers, as he found the explosive in his home and drove it to the fire station in a box.

The incident, which took place in the west German city of Mönchengladbach on Thursday, follows discoveries of unexploded ordnance from the war all over the country, including major populated areas such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Hanover and Cologne. While in most cases authorities take charge of the situation and often evacuate a perimeter around the bomb that is parallel to its explosive power, the local decided to take matters into his own hands.

The man uncovered the 16-inch, rusted piece of metal while working in his garden and came to feel uneasy about the item, suspecting it could be dangerous. His qualms turned out to be well-founded, as the metallic cylinder turned out to be an incendiary, airborne bomb from World War II, likely British, as Mönchengladbach fell under British bombardment early on in the conflict. Instead of waiting for authorities to come to him, however, the man put the bomb in a cardboard box and drove down to his local fire station to ask officials how to dispose of the find.

A police munitions expert piles recovered artillery shells at a police blasting ground in Berlin's Grunewald forest on April 29, 2015. German authorities frequently recover ordnance from World War II. Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

Firefighters immediately called the ordnance disposal service to the site and buried the explosive once again, this time in an unpopulated, quarantined area, so as to avoid triggering any possible detonation, until experts arrived to decommission it. The team arrived shortly after and disposed of the hazardous artifact, a statement on the Mönchengladbach official website said.

While the find resulted in the successful dismantling of a potentially lethal device, the city administration called on citizens to never follow the man's example.

"In all cases where an explosive ordnance is found, utmost caution is required!" the statement from the local administration read. "The Ordnance Disposal Service strongly recommends that if a suspicious item, which could be ordnance, is found, it must not be moved but left at the site and the authorities are immediately informed."

On the other hand, at least one recent instance of a reported WWII bomb found in Germany turned out to be the product of an overly cautious citizen, as bomb clearance officials determined the item they had been asked to decommission was actually a zucchini. The service receives around a 1,000 calls per year about suspected wartime ordnance, and authorities encourage citizens to continue seeking official help.