People Living Near Camp Fannin Find Live Ammo Near Their Homes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

08/21/03

People Living Near Camp Fannin Find Live Ammo Near Their Homes

"This particular one I found out here in my back yard," says Murrell Sloan. He and his family built their home on Camp Fannin when he was a young boy.

"My dad told me an awful lot about this area before he died," he explains.

Murrell says he has always been fascinated with the training facility, and one day he decided to start looking for artillery rounds. In just a short time, he found more than he ever expected.

"I have found hundreds of the 30 caliber copper bullets, digging almost anywhere in my yard."

Soon, he noticed larger ammunition all around his property, particularly near his pond.

"I picked it up and it was a 60 mm mortar shell, it had the fins, the casing and the point. I recognized it as a live round."

A shell like that could blow up nearly ten feet around his home, causing terrible injuries to anyone near it.

"I have been called several times over the last 20 years about people finding grenades and such and the least little movement could set those things off and shrapnel could kill you," explains Smith County Constable Charles Wilson.

He says if you find something like that on your property, don't touch it.

"If you find this type of ordinance leave it alone. Mark where it is and contact myself or the sherriff's office and we'll notify the appropriate agency to take care of it."

Constable Wilson says the ammo is popping up because of changes in the land and erosion. He says families in the area don't need to worry about the ammunition as long as they don't touch them, and leave removing them from your property to the authorities.

For more information on handling the ammunition and what authorities are doing to clean it up, you can attend an informational seminar on August 26 at Winona schools.

Michelle Mortensen, reporting.

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