Grenade almost spoils barbecue

Local resident found the device while cleaning backyard

A local family found a hand grenade in their backyard on East 51st Street while hosting a barbeque last week. The grenade turned out to be inactive and posed no danger to residents. The Jersey City Bomb Squad was called in, promptly removed the device, and cleared the site.
Bayonne Lt. Anthony Maddalone said the grenade is an M61 model. Released in 1952, it is a Cold War relic. Fortunately, the one found in the backyard did not contain explosive material. But at the moment it was spotted against a fence, a few feet from a barbecue grill, it did not seem so innocuous.
The family was willing to comment but not be identified. A young woman at the barbecue that day said her brother-in-law spotted the explosive. “We all went inside and they called the police,” she said. “It was there by the fence while they were clearing leaves.”
She said they were scared only “at first, but when the police came it was OK. They said it was not dangerous.” The police determined that it was not a live grenade. She continued, “He picked it up and said there wasn’t something in it.” That “something” was likely the explosive material.
As to where it came from, the family is not sure. They’ve lived at the address for only one year. The woman said, “I think it was there from a long time ago, very long time.”
At a family event with children present, there was cause for concern. “Yeah, that’s what we were thinking,” the woman said. “What if there was a lot more that we don’t know?”


“It was there by the fence while they were clearing leaves.”—Family member

Explosive information

There probably is more that we do not know. What we do know is that it is illegal to possess an “explosive device,” such as a grenade, under a 1968 amendment to the National Firearms Act. That does not include grenades for display that do not have explosive material, such as the ones at Bayonne’s VFW Museum. Commander Glen Flora, who runs the museum, said “We have about four or five of them, but they’re disconnected.”
Asked if it is easy to buy a deactivated or display grenade he said, “They’re available. You can buy them all over the place. They’re made of steel and they’re real.”
Though it’s not known where the one in the backyard came from, it’s possible that it was used for display and discarded by the previous tenant or neighbor. It’s possible that mischievous kids stole it from their grandfather’s display case and used it for a baseball. The important thing is that the family on 51st Street is safe.
Does the family want it back? The woman laughed and said, “No, no!”
If you’re interested in learning more about war, weapons, and the like, check out the Joyce-Herbert VFW Veterans Museum at 16 West 9th Street. It’s open Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (201) 858-1416.

Rory Pasquariello may be reached at

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