The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office Bomb Squad detonated a fake pipe bomb Thursday afternoon on a street in Sharpsburg.
To be safe, bomb squad officers used a robot to pick up the device and “render it harmless” with a water charge, Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said.
“The water comes out at such a great force that it disrupts everything,” Ernst said.
A man mowing his lawn at the corner of the intersection of Antietam and South Mechanic streets found the device, Ernst said.
The man initially thought it was a child’s toy, then noticed red caps connected by black wiring.
The device turned out to be two metal pipes taped together with the wiring and caps attached to make it look like a pipe bomb, Ernst said. The pipes were about 8 inches long and 3/4 of an inch round, he said.
The bomb squad’s robot was holding the pipe bomb when authorities detonated it after yelling “Fire in the hole” several times.
Ernst approached the robot wearing body armor after the water charge was fired to make sure the device was harmless.
He said the fire marshal’s office performs about two controlled explosions per month, usually on “hoax devices” and old military ordnance.
Authorities blocked traffic for several hours about a block in each direction from the site where the device was found.