Artillery shell found in basement causes a stir

Ripon Area Fire District Chief Tim Saul, left, and Ripon Police Chief Dave Lukoski stand outside 831 Watson St., where an old piece of artillery was reported Thursday.

A bomb scare in a Ripon neighborhood ended not with a “boom,” but a chuckle.

Though a bomb squad from Dane County had to be called up to Ripon Thursday, the scenario proved more mild then threatening.

Evidently, the owner of 831 Watson St. had found a generations-old artillery shell and wished to dispose of it.

“We believe it was a World War I artillery shell,” said Cathy Conant, whose son has been living in the house most recently. “My parents owned the house before my son did, and it’s been in the house since before they moved in. I think it goes back to the owner who built it. It was in the basement and we weren’t too worried about it and didn’t think much about it.”

“It was from before my grandmother moved in, 40-ish years ago,” said her son, P.J. Bardsley.

But, Bardsley added, he was moving out and friends were moving in, so they decided maybe the explosive should be disposed of first.

“We decided to call the police and decide how to dispose of it, and got a little more than we expected,” Conant said.

“We had gotten a call from the resident there at 831 Watson St.,” Ripon Police Capt. Bill Wallner said. “They had been cleaning out the residence and found in the basement what appeared to be some type of military round — mortar round or shell ... We went up to look at it [and] contacted the Dane County bomb squad.

“We sent them some photographs of the item; they immediately identified it as something that should be disposed of.”

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