Four Homes Evacuated After WWI Explosive Found in San Francisco

by Brianna Vacca

Out of precaution, police evacuated four homes today due to a “potentially live” bomb from the World War One era.

A San Francisco resident found what they believe is a grenade from WWI in an elderly resident’s bedroom. According to the Los Altos Police Department, all other homes were instructed to shelter-in-place. Police and a bomb squad arrived at the 1700 block of Christina Drive that borders South Los Altos.

After further investigation, the bomb squad confirms that the grenade appears to be a “vintage” grenade that may still be dangerous. Out of precaution, police evacuated four homes to safety. The bomb squad detonated the bomb on-site, and police reported no injuries.

A spokesperson for the National WWI Museum documents that grenades from that era come in all sorts of varieties. They also vary immensely. It’s tough to identify the grenade the older man stored in his bedroom due to little information.

There’s More Where That One Came From

Authorities are recovering old WWI and WWII weaponry today. United States and British air forces dropped nearly 2.7 million bombs on Europe. It’s safe to say that the discovery of weaponry isn’t uncommon now. It’s difficult to locate where each and every bomb dropped and people are still locating these bombs in interesting places.

In 2013, three World War II grenades were found inside a bedroom in Inner Sunset. In 2016, another few grenades were found in the Outer Sunset – just two years before the 100th anniversary of World War I. Bomb experts are still locating and removing munitions in France – military weapons, ammunition, equipment, and stores – in the killing fields. Experts say it could be another century before they finish.

In 2019, a Hong Kong potato chip facility located a World War I grenade amongst a shipment of potatoes. The shipment traveled from France to their facility in Hong Kong. A farmer likely dug up the grenade with potatoes on accident. All evidence points to that and not an act of intended harm. Military historian Dave Macri notes that soldiers must have dropped the grenade or left it behind in battle.