Explosive devices plentiful in San Diego

Experts say rounds found where live training held

SAN DIEGO - Two aerial military practice bombs were discovered inside of a crawl space of a home in La Mesa Wednesday, and experts told 10News there are many more out there.

"I couldn't believe there was a 500-pound bomb just 25 feet away from my house," said neighbor Cameron Gregory.

"People collect them or they were brought home as souvenirs, and though they may be practice rounds it doesn't mean they're safe," said Capt. John Wood with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's Bomb Squad, which responds to more than 200 calls a year, most of which have to do with military ordnance.  

The two devices from the La Mesa home were practice rounds used by military pilots for training.  

"There are thousands of the MK-76 round out there; I know I've dropped a lot of them," said Jim Kidrick, a former naval aviator who now runs the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

"The MK-76 is lightweight and it is reusable. You could pick it up and reuse it because it had a little charge in the nose, which would go off to mark whether we hit the target or not," Kidrick added.  

That charge, called a spot charge, no matter how old the device, can still be dangerous.

"Spot charges are usually made from white phosphorus, which if exposed to air can burn someone badly," said Wood.  

Wood said before there were houses in the area, Tierrasanta and Mission Gorge were areas that had live military training.

In 1983, two children were killed playing with a 25-pound practice round in Tierrasanta.

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