School locked down after deputies find three bombs on private pr

School locked down after deputies find three bombs on private property

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Traffic on Fairview Road near Coalfield was blocked while officials handled the bomb. Traffic on Fairview Road near Coalfield was blocked while officials handled the bomb.
Deputies found the explosives while responding to a fire on the property on Sunday. (Source: Mark Phillips) Deputies found the explosives while responding to a fire on the property on Sunday. (Source: Mark Phillips)
"I knew he collected military stuff," said neighbor Mark Phillips. "I didn't know he had inert or active bombs. That was a big shock." "I knew he collected military stuff," said neighbor Mark Phillips. "I didn't know he had inert or active bombs. That was a big shock."

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

COALFIELD (WATE) - Deputies locked down a local school and evacuated several homes in Morgan County Tuesday morning while officials detonated several bombs found on private property.

On Sunday, Morgan County deputies responded to a fire off of Fairview Road because a home and several cars had caught fire on the property.

Neighbors told 6 News the property is located off of David Phillips Road, on a road called Hillbilly Hollow.

While battling the fire, they found an explosive device.

After investigating further, they found three military-type bombs, the largest of which was five feet long, and a fourth device.

Officials said they were still determining what type of device the fourth item was.

"I knew he collected military stuff," said neighbor Mark Phillips. "I didn't know he had inert or active bombs. That was a big shock."

Phillips and his wife and two sons were evacuated Monday night.

Officials with the Knox County Bomb Squad and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called in to dispose of the bombs on Tuesday, as were military officials from Fort Campbell.

Morgan County Sheriff Glen Freytag told 6 News that several families in the rural area were evacuated, and nearby Coalfield School was placed on a lockdown while they detonated the devices.

"D.O.D. wanted to have all the children locked down in the school, not necessarily in the room, but in the school building just in case there was some sort of problem with it," said Sheriff Freytag, referring to the Department of Defense.

Fairview Road was also blocked off temporarily.

The first and smallest bomb was detonated just before 11 a.m., the second bomb was detonated just before 1 p.m., and the third before 2 p.m., all without incident.

"Scary," said neighbor Brenda Neal. "Bombs that are close to where you live. It's just getting to the point it's ridiculous."

By 3:30 p.m., residents were allowed back to their homes, schools were let out as usual and roads reopened.

6 News spoke with Dave Provine, the man who owned the bombs, by phone. He declined an on camera interview, but said he purchased the bombs from a scrap metal business in Oak Ridge two years ago.

Provine was told they were not active, and that they were some of the last bombs made in Oak Ridge back in the 1940s.

He said he brought them to the property in Coalfield the back of his pickup. He had planned on adding them to a military vehicle he had already purchased.

"We are under the impression he was not aware that they were capable of detonating," said Sheriff Freytag.

ATF officials said contrary to other reports, the explosives are not WWII-era. An agent told 6 News they might be from the Korean or Vietnam War, but will have to investigate further before knowing for sure.

ATF officials said every bomb made by the military has a number to identify them. They are now in the process of finding out exactly where these bombs came from, and if there was any wrongdoing on the military's part.

No charges have been filed in the incident yet.

The ATF is heading up the investigation.

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