Potentially live artillery removed from Petersburg museum

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Explosive Ordinance Division of the Virginia State Police removed several potentially live artillery rounds from the basement of the Siege Museum in Petersburg Wednesday morning.

Police guarded the museum overnight after ammunition that was found inside on Tuesday was later deemed ‘most likely live.’

Bomb squad crews were called to the museum Tuesday, March 22, after workers reported that three Civil War cannon balls that have been housed in the facility for 70 years could be active.

The museum has been closed for the past 18 months. The group that found the ammunition was working to re-open to the museum when they found several dozen cannon balls were found in storage. A Virginia State Police bomb squad unit was called and determined that at least three are still active.

President of the Petersburg Preservation Task Force, M. Dean McCray, said they leaned on the side of caution and transparency and contacted the City Manager, who then contacted the Police.

“These types of ordinance are uncovered all the time in the Petersburg region,” McCray said. “There were hundreds of thousands of these rounds fired from both sides during the siege of Petersburg. People will continue to uncover them for decades in the future – and they should take the same measures we did in contacting the proper authorities.”

Spokesperson of the Virginia State Police EOD, Steve Vick, said there was little if any danger to the public from the storage or removal of the ammunition.

“We have strict protocols in place on how to deal with these issues – and we commend the City and alert citizens who brought it to our attention and requested assistance,” Vick said.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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