Experts inspect ‘military bomb’ device found in gov’t facility in Gaithersburg

WASHINGTON — Army explosives experts were called to a former U.S. military facility on Thursday after a device labeled “military bomb” was discovered during an inspection.

The site, off Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg, Maryland, contains several decommissioned missile silos and is now owned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Leaders have considered getting rid of the land and were conducting a walk-through of the site in preparation for a possible transfer. The device was discovered in a structure attached to a silo that had been welded shut and then unsealed on Thursday as part of a safety inspection.

In an email from NIST leadership Friday, staff were told that what “appeared to be a non-functional practice device” was discovered. Army bomb experts from Ft. Belvoir were contacted out of an abundance of caution. They removed the device after determining it contained no explosive materials.

In the email, NIST leaders said the device posed no danger to workers or the public.

After the initial email went out, a tip from a longtime staff member helped NIST determine why a military practice bomb was located at the site. The device dated from fire-research experiments dating back to the 1980s aimed at determining how to protect explosives during railway shipments.

The discovery of the device was first reported by NBC4.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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