Part of DC’s Fort Totten Park closes for investigation after discovery of metal canisters

A section of Fort Totten Park in D.C. has been closed after the discovery of two metal canisters on Tuesday.

Fort Totten Park is closed just east of Fort Totten Drive, south of Gallatin Street, and north of Brookland Avenue Northeast/Farragut Street “out of an abundance of caution,” the National Park Service said in a news release.

On Tuesday, a park employee found the metal canisters in a mound of soil at the park. It’s not the first time metal canisters have been found there.

Back in 2020, the National Park Service discovered a World War I era metal canister on the ground in a different area of Fort Totten Park. The Park Service said the Defense Department determined the munition was an “unfused and unused, empty canister;” its source is unknown.

In a letter to the National Park Service in February, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton requested the agency to “investigate ordnances and soil and groundwater contamination throughout Fort Totten Park.”

This came after the discovery of a possible link between the empty shell and the cleanup of a former World War I chemical weapons site near the American University campus.

The U.S. Army has removed the canisters found on Tuesday and will analyze the contents at Marine Corps Base Quantico, NPS said.

The origins of the canisters and several mounds of soil along the edge of the road are also being determined.

U.S. Park Police have blocked off the site and are asking people to stay out of the area.

“Public safety is the NPS’ highest priority. The NPS is working to determine the next steps to evaluate the area. We will provide updates as more information is available,” the National Park Service said.

Service at the Fort Totten Metro station was temporarily affected on Tuesday but has since been restored.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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