Employees at a recycling plant in east Mesa made a startling discovery Wednesday morning when they found several mortar rounds about the size of softballs in a load of scrap metal, authorities said.
Mesa’s bomb squad joined firefighters and munitions experts from Luke Air Force Base to assess the ordinances, all but one of which were not thought to pose a danger to the public.
The shipment of explosives had been dropped off at Commerical Metals Company, said Deputy Chief Forrest Smith, a Mesa fire spokesman. It wasn’t immediately clear where the shipment had come from.
Authorities were called to the recycling business near Meridian and Germann roads sometime before 10 a.m. Wednesday after employees reported receiving a load of scrap metal that contained what was later determined to be hundreds of artillery rounds, Smith said.
Only one of the artillery rounds was reported to be live, Smith said, and the munitions crew was expected to finish its work by Thursday.
Smith said the mortars looked like discarded scrap metal that was buried many years ago.
Commercial Metals Company, which takes old steel products and melts them into steel rebar, is in an isolated area and not located near any homes, he said.
Smith said the plant was already shut down for maintenance on Wednesday, so routine operations were not affected.