Live Civil War cannon balls found in Petersburg museum

The Siege Museum (Photo: Google Maps)

PETERSBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Bomb disposal experts have been dispatched to Virginia's Siege Museum after X-rays showed several Civil War-era cannon balls stored there are capable of exploding.

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, according to WRIC in Richmond.

WRIC reported that police guarded the museum overnight after ammunition found inside on Tuesday was later deemed 'most likely alive.'

Workers said that three Civil War cannon balls that had been housed in the facility for 70 years could be active, and bomb squad crews were called in.

The museum has been closed for the past 18 months.

The Siege Museum depicts how residents of Petersburg lived before, during, and after the Civil War.

A group working to re-open the museum found several dozen cannon balls in storage, according to officials.

City spokesman Clay Hamner says the X-rays showed at least three of the cannon balls are probably live, but he says they don't have fuses in them, so unless someone lights one somehow, "there is no chance of them going off."

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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