Ordnance prompts Kahului evacuation and road closure

A grenade and 12-inch mortar shell, found by a man in his late father’s belongings, were disposed of at the Ukumehame Firing Range on Tuesday night by a bomb disposal team in an incident that shutdown the Maui County Service Center, parking lots in the area and part of East Kamehameha Avenue for most of the afternoon and early evening.

At about noon Tuesday, a 26-year-old Pukalani man discovered the grenade and mortar shell in his late father’s belongings, police and county officials said. He decided to drive the ordnance to the Wailuku Police Station for disposal but along the way became concerned for his safety, said police spokesman Lt. William Juan.

“This was not any sort of malicious intent on the part of the person, from what we understand,” said Rod Antone, county spokesman.

The man parked his Kia Optima sedan on the East Kamehameha Avenue side of the Maui Mall and called police, Juan said. Upon arriving on the scene, police closed the section of road along Kamehameha Avenue between Alamaha and Hoohana streets, and set up a 600-foot perimeter around the vehicle.

This led to the evacuation of the Maui County Service Center and portions of the parking lots of the Maui Mall and Safeway across the street, Juan said. The service center was closed for the rest of the day.

A U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit from Oahu arrived at the scene at about 6:45 p.m. with police giving the all clear at about 7:35 p.m., said Juan. The grenade and mortar were taken to the Ukumehame Firing Range for disposal, he said.

There were no injuries in the incident.

“Should you encounter any suspected unexploded ordnance, do not attempt to remove or transport the item, and contact the Maui Police Department for assistance,” Juan said.