A Calgary man stumbled upon a rare find when he discovered old military equipment in his backyard on Sunday.
Jason Rempel was working to move an old shed, when he spotted a crumpled old bag under a haphazard pile of plywood.
"I kind of speculated that maybe they were just tossed over the fence at some point many years ago, I don't know," Rempel told The Huffington Post Alberta.
"It looked like a huge bullet."
When he opened it up, he was initially confused by what he saw.
"I didn't really know at first glance, but after looking at them for a few moments I gathered what one of the items was — it looked like a huge bullet."
He added the other item seemed to be "a super heavy-duty thermos."
What Rempel saw when he opened the lid of the "thermos" was a string tied to a spring-loaded mechanism. The inside of the object was spotless and gave off a chemical odor "almost like kerosene."
"I took the duct-tape off, only to find a weird mechanism underneath that made me think twice about doing anything with it."
Not being a military-buff himself, Rempel decided the next best bet was to crowdsource an answer. He took a photo of the objects and posted it to Facebook, where friends suggested he call police.
The objects in Rempel's backyard, near the pile of wood where they were found. (Photo: Jason Rempel)
When police arrived, they didn't even touch the objects. They told Rempel and his girlfriend to leave their home and called in a bomb technician.
At this point, many people might be a bit nervous, but not Rempel.
"I was actually kind of excited at the find," Rempel said with a laugh. "I even said to the cops before we left... 'If there's even the smallest chance these things are harmless I wouldn't mind keeping them.'"
Unfortunately for Rempel, "finders keepers" wasn't applicable in this case. When he was allowed back to his home, police told him the objects were dangerous and would be detonated at a safe location.
The inside of the smoke grenade. (Photo: Jason Rempel)
Police told Rempel the equipment was from the Second World War — something he said amazed him because the objects looked so clean and new.
They also let him know he was close to setting his house on fire when he opened what turned out to be a smoke grenade.
"They let us know it was a good thing we didn't open it indoors — the canister gets so hot it could have caused a massive fire. The chemical I smelled under the lid is so flammable it could instantly ignite.
"I'm glad I didn't go too crazy [with opening that] or our whole neighbourhood would have been smoked out."
An employee at Calgary's Military Museums confirmed to HuffPost Alberta the objects Rempel found were a smoke grenade and a 25 millimetre round, with a clip. Both are still used on Canadian Armed Forces training ranges.
The base of the round. (Photo: Jason Rempel)
"It is rare but possible for military hardware to be discovered like that here in Calgary," said KC Richards, communications and marketing manager for the Military Museums.
Richards explained the area around southwest Calgary (near the communities of Sarcee, Signal Hill and Weaselhead Park) was used for Canadian military training before the First World War.
Acadia is located in southeast Calgary, about a 20 minute drive east of the communities mentioned.
"The chemical I smelled under the lid is so flammable it could instantly ignite."
"I could really only speculate as to how they found their way into the city," Richards said. "We would like to note that this person did the correct thing in contacting the Calgary Police Service immediately. They have the equipment and expertise to safely dispose of these things safely."
Rempel's he's looking forward to seeing if his yard work will turn more surprises.
"I'm thinking of renting a metal detector to see what else is back there, if not for any other reason that to be precautionary," he said. "If I had been digging around with my shovel, rather than my hands... it probably would have been a different story."
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