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Deputy state fire marshals disposed of six pieces of inert military ordnance, including three hollowed-out U.S. grenades and one Vietnam-era stick grenade, Wednesday after the widow of a military veteran found them packed away while cleaning out storage space in her Waldorf home.

The woman called police around 10 a.m., after making the discovery, said Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Duane K. Svites, who at the time was in the Charles County Sheriff's Office's weekly COMSAT meeting.

Svites and fellow bomb technician Bill Potts arrived at the house at 11:22 a.m. and determined the ordnance — which also included one round of high-caliber ammunition and a contact fuse — was inert.

Svites said the fire marshal’s bomb techs have received military training on how to spot indications of inert ordnance, but that X-rays are the only way to tell for certain.

“Once we figured out they were safe, she could have kept them, but we discouraged that,”Svites said, adding that the woman preferred to have the ordnance disposed of.

Svites said a license from the state allows the fire marshal's office to recycle metal from inert ordnance. Had the grenades been live, they would have been disposed via a counter-charge a controlled explosion.

Svites said it is not that rare for people to find inert ordnance, often kept as mementoes, in their homes.

“It’s actually pretty common around the state and in Southern Maryland,” he said. “If it was live, that would be more unusual.”

jnewman@somdnews.com