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Bomb Squad Removes Live Grenade Found at Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway Intersection

| October 1, 2013

Frosty the robot immediately after delivering the grenade to analysts of the St. Johns Bomb Squad this evening. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Frosty the robot immediately after delivering the grenade to analysts of the St. Johns Bomb Squad this evening. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 9:41 p.m.

The intersections of Palm Coast Parkway and Belle Terre Parkway were closed to traffic for more than an hour this evening after an object that looked like a grenade was found in the road.

At 8:30 this evening, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre confirmed that it was a live Mk 2 pineapple hand-grenade.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad was called in and took possession of the object at 7:35, with its robot, called Frosty. The grenade was taken to an undisclosed location where it was to be detonated. A report that it was going to be detonated at Hargrove Grade could not be confirmed.

At 9:28 p.m., Undersheriff Rick Staly said the device was taken to Hargrove Grade and detonated there.

“It did explode, which would indicate to us that it was a live grenade and not a replica, so we notified ATF and we notified the FBI because when we have incidents like this it goes into their domestic security system,” Staly said. “We’re fortunate that the passer-by called it in, and our people did a great job, great help from the Palm Coast Fire Police who helped divert traffic from a very busy location,”

There is no one in custody at the moment in connection with the incident, nor any persons of interest: the sheriff’s office is investigating and trying to find out whether the object was dropped there or intentionally placed there.

Cmdr. Mark Carman, who oversees Palm Coast operations for the Sheriff’s Office, said a passing motorist was stopped at a light around 6 p.m. when she noticed the grenade on the ground, just east of Belle Terre on Palm Coast Parkway. She called it in. Carman was on his way to the Palm Coast City Council meeting at the Community Center.

“I’ve had this happen to me only one time in my career, and it was real,” Carman said, referring to an incident about a decade ago when a live grenade was found in the back of a car at the Exxon station on Palm Coast Parkway. “I was on the way to my council meeting, so I stopped and looked at it and thought, wow, we need to call the bomb squad,” Carman said.

“I’m still waiting to hear whether it was real or not. It looks real and it was probably real at one time,” Carman said. “The pin was still in it. It could have been real. You’ve got to take them as real.” The grenade, he said, could have been hollowed out. That was the case when a grenade was found in the hollow of a tree in Palm Coast’s Woodlands in January 2012.

“They’re going to blow it up one way or the other,” Carman said, at which point authorities will know what sort of device it was. “We treat them all like they’re real.” At 9:12 p.m., Carman said the device was found to have been, in fact, a live grenade.

The intersection is not only among Palm Coast’s most heavily traveled; it is also under heavy surveillance from cameras, and authorities are likely to very soon analyze red-light camera footage from the vicinity.

“They had the road blocked off for about two hours until the bomb squad got here with the little robot thing,” Kayla Siler, an employee at the Citgo gas station’s convenience store, said, soon after the grenade was removed. “I guess it was right there. We were watching through the window, they’d told us to go inside.” From where Siler spoke, the grenade would have been a few dozen yards away. She said a sheriff’s deputy told the people at the station that it was an actual grenade. “They just had it all shut down and finally a sheriff’s deputy came over here and told us what was going on,” Siler said.

She said at least 20 cop cars had converged on the area. “Yeah, I was scared, it was like I was in a movie. I’ve never seen one of those robots,” Siler said.

Roads were being reopened at 7:45 p.m. The nature of the object was not determined at that time, but in the overwhelming number of cases–more than 99 percent–the bomb squad determines the object to be non-threatening.

St. Johns operates the only bomb squad in the tri-county area that includes St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam. The squad was last called into Flagler on May 26, when a suspicious ammunition box was found near a sidewalk in Flagler Beach. The box turned out to be a tackle box. Four days later, the squad helped local authorities clear Flagler Palm Coast High School, after a weekend bomb threat had been left on in a voice mail to a school employee. The squad very rarely turns up actual explosive devices, though in every case of a reported suspicious object that could be a bomb, authorities, including the bomb squad, take no chances.

The squad’s star is usually its robot, called “Frosty,” a Remotec Andros F6A that sports a color surveillance camera with powerful zooming capabilities on a 24-inch camera extender, grips with versatile rotations and heavy-duty tracks allowing it to cross ditches and obstacles in rough terrain. (The robot’s nickname takes after that of Tanner’s father, Lt. Wayne Tanner, who created the bomb squad in 1973 and died in retirement in 2001.)

Belle Terre southbound at CVS, Belle Terre northbound at Cypress Point, Palm Coast Parkway east at Station 21 and the entire southeast intersection of Palm Coast Parkway and Belle Terre were closed to traffic beginning around 6 p.m.

Traffic was flowing again in all directions at 7:50 p.m. as the Palm Coast Fire Police, which had been diverting traffic, restored normal flow.

Oddly, the Sheriff’s Office distributed a news release at 8:48 this evening, but only news release to come out of the Sheriff’s Office this evening, but not about the grenade. It was a reminder about the new ban on texting while driving. A news release about the grenade was emailed at 10:18 p.m.

Frosty. (© FlaglerLive)

Frosty, the robot operated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad, was called into action in Flagler County for the second time this year. (© FlaglerLive)

The St. Johns County Bomb Squad's robot had claimed the object and was delivering it for analysis on Belle Terre Parkway between Palm Coast Parkway west and east at 7:40 p.m. (c FlaglerLive)

The St. Johns County Bomb Squad’s robot had claimed the object and was delivering it for analysis on Belle Terre Parkway between Palm Coast Parkway west and east at 7:40 p.m. (c FlaglerLive)

The grenade is driven away in a secure container. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The grenade is driven away in a secure container. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Frosty makes its way back to its truck. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Frosty makes its way back to its truck. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

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33 Responses for “Bomb Squad Removes Live Grenade Found at Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway Intersection”

  1. John Adams says:

    Palm Coast is rapidly become a cesspool of crime and murder.

    • Joe Joe says:

      Huh? What is with all the comments that make zero sense? How is murder tied to this? Heck, it most likely was dropped by mistake. I’ve lived in a few places in my life including NY and LA, for a city of it’s size the crime in PC is very low and minor.

  2. Rocky R. says:

    Quick correction, It was closed at station 21. Station 41 is in the hammock ;)

  3. Jim says:

    All due respect to our law enforcement, fire dept personnel and all first responders BUT seriously, couldn’t someone have just picked the damn thing up and took it away. P. C. Parkway was a mess for two hours.

    • ummm says:

      good idea, Jim…you’re it! let the bomb squad know that next time Jim has volunteered for suspicious package and suspected bomb pick up duty.

    • Ray Thorne says:

      They probably would have liked to but protocol says different. Better safe than sorry.

    • Nancy N. says:

      You want law enforcement personnel to risk their lives handling live explosives to fix a traffic jam? Man, you need to get some priorities.

      Tell you what…we’ll go with your plan next time and then we’ll send you to personally break the news to the widow and kids of the guy who gets blown up.

    • Seriously says:

      Seriously Jim? You want to have someone remove a LIVE grenade with their hands? How about this, if you are so concerned with the “mess” of Palm Coast Parkway, then next time we should call you and you can remove it by hand. This way if it detonates then you are the responsible one. Not to mention, what if someone had done that and it went ahead and detonated right outside the Citgo Gas Station? That would have been a huge mess. Lots of people’s lives could have been at stake. Our men and women on the force did exactly what they were trained to do in this type of scenario. You seem like one of those people who are unconcerned with other people’s safety, simply because it is inconvenient to you.
      While, this incident was an inconvenience to the people who were stuck in traffic or re-routed simply because they could not use that small patch of roadway, I am sure they are grateful that they are alive, because someone with your ignorance did not “pick up the grenade and move it”. I am thankful that you were not the Officer in Charge at the scene or it the outcome could have been simply devastating.

    • Elle says:

      With all due respect, would you want to be the person to walk over and pick up a possibly live grenade?

      I don’t think so.

  4. A.S.F. says:

    And they evacuated the Jacksonville Airport for an incident also….weird.

  5. Sgt Saber says:

    Either some old vet was taking it to show and tell at the VFW or it was practice for our local law for the day Alibaba and the forty thieves decide to lay IED’S all around Palm Coast.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you get to the conclusion that it could have been a vet? How about gang or drug activity that keeps going on in Palm coast????

  6. Gia says:

    We’ve have evil in Palm Coast. Some people wants to destroy other.

  7. John Boy says:

    20 Cop Cars and Bomb Squad for several hours? Took the device to Hardgrove and detonated, wonder if they obtained fingerprints before destroying it. The Flagler Military Force is alive and well, where was the armored personnel carrier, the helicopter and the horse patrol?

  8. Geezer says:

    Where can I buy some? I have stubborn moles under my lawn.

  9. Harley dude says:

    Finally a good reason for the cameras.

  10. EYEONFLAGLER says:

    Great job by all, thank god no one was hurt. FCSO, Fire police, and Flagler COP’S did a great job at a difficult time of day with many intersections to block and pedestrian traffic…… Kudos to all!

  11. Shoregal says:

    @John Boy & Jim, Seriously your comments are just irresponsible. IT WAS A GRENADE!!! it could have killed an innocent…. It could have been placed there as a distraction, setting up for something more serious. Law enforcement always has to be prepared for the “WHAT IF” I’m sure if a tragedy had occured you wouldn’t have posted something so recklessly ridiculous. Thank you law enforcement…. for all that you do

    • just saying says:

      Correct, it could have been booby trapped, there could have been a secondary device, there could have been someone watching with a remote.

  12. johnny taxpayer says:

    “It did explode, which would indicate to us that it was a live grenade”- excellent law enforcement insight there under sheriff. He also reported that due to the lack of day light at the time he believed it to be night time, and advised that citizens should neither pull on supermans cape nor spit in the wind.

  13. JL says:

    It’s so easy after the fact to say, Couldn’t you just pick it up and throw it. But you don’t know what was going on. Especially these days. Someone could have rigged it to go off when picked up. You never know. And it’s when people become complacent that massive injuries/deaths occur. I think they acted appropriately to an unknown situation. And I hope they’ll react the same next time.

  14. Rocky R. says:

    I really cant believe those of you who think the response was unwarranted..

    John boy, Jim,

    If the grenade was in front of your house, would you want joe shmo to just pick up the grenade and throw it in the back of his truck? or would you want some police presence and individuals trained to handle explosive devices, to take care of it? God forbid your 8pm commute took a few extra minutes while the bomb squad handled a live explosive device in the middle of a heavily traveled road in the middle of a city.

    Seriously, the residents of palm coast will find ANYTHING to complain about

  15. jippity John says:

    …becoming? It is!

  16. Omar says:

    How would you like to be diverted from Jax Airport to Orlando and put up in a hotel in Jax due to the shutdown of Jax A/P yesterday because of 2 suspicious packages. The terrorists are winning.

  17. bunnell boy says:

    Jim please give your number to the FCSO so the next time you can remove it for them……

  18. George says:

    Elderly couple driving down the parkway:
    Martha, have you seen my grenade book end ?
    Dag nab it George, I thought that was a pine cone those dang squirrels keep bringing into the garage, I threw it out the window on my way to Walmart !!!
    Dang it Martha, I told you those squirrels can’t open the garage !

  19. WheelMan says:

    Like someone mentioned before, couldn’t someone just have picked up the UXO and save the hysteria and traffic jam for the local residents? At most that little explosive would have taken out maybe a 20 foot radius if and if it were to detonate, picking it up and tossing it into the bottom of a lake would have been much easier and better for everyone who had to wait hours for the fuzz to play with their bomb squad toys. I can say all of this because I have personally worked around and handled explosives 100 times larger than this little pineapple, but leave it up to Flagler County to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

  20. fruitcake says:

    We have cameras to take pictures of red light runners…but no cameras to take pictures of something like this!

  21. Ray Thorne says:

    Speaking of the cameras I heard the city is using red light fines to purchase 50 lapel cameras for the Sheriffs Office. That’s some chunk of change.

  22. The Truth says:

    This discussion has shown me just how many inconsiderate, selfish and whiny people we have in this city. There was a LIVE GRENADE on our roadway and people are complaining about the road being shut down? I think many who live here are starting to get clouded as to how things work in the real world. They live in this alternate reality where they don’t realize how things actually work.

    For those saying the crime/murder rates are going up in this area, perhaps you should check the facts. The crime rates have actually gone down. Our city is much safer than people realize. Thankfully, we have sites like Flagler Live that provide us with real time information, which many cities do not have.

    Go outside, sit back and relax for a little. Appreciate all that is good that’s around you and stop letting minor things get you all in a tizzy.

    • WheelMan says:

      Which is more inconsiderate? Blocking off a major artery in this little town for a firecracker or picking up the grenade and disposing of it in a safe and timely manner? There are far more life threatening dangers walking around amongst us people on a daily basis, especially at Wal-Mart. So, excuse the people who were held up at the barricades and missed dinner with their families, were late to work, late to pick up their kids, had to use to toilet real bad and so on. They don’t matter because they were just being whiny am I right???

  23. rhweir says:

    Very concerned about a live grenade being tossed into a busy intersection. This could have ended very tragically. Have to wonder what is wrong with this little town, so much aggression and malice. The same day this happened, there were bow hunters on the Matanzas Course killing and slaughtering deer. I don’t know if the sheriff or FWC caught the perps, they were looking for them, but the activity has been going on for a few months now. There were a lot of deer on the course in July, have not seen one in over a month, unless being chased by some nut with a bow. Total disregard for life and property here. Desperate people doing desperate things. Grenades tossed in intersections to see what happens, killing wildlife in city limits without permit, a few steps from homes…makes me wonder about Palm Coast.

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