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WWI-era Navy mine ‘rendered safe’

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It was as if the racket of ringing in the new year had started a little early Monday morning in Southern Maryland.

Authorities blew up a piece of naval ordnance in a park in St. Mary’s County, producing a blast that startled many.

“Everybody I’m friends with on Facebook heard it,” said a woman who lives near Newtowne Neck State Park, where the detonation took place. The woman, who declined to be identified by name for privacy reasons, said people were jolted awake before dawn, and began asking for explanations.

Although she slept through the explosion, the woman said, the reaction told her that “it must have been pretty loud.”

The state fire marshal’s office said a man walking near Cuckold Creek in Hollywood, Md., on Sunday found an unexploded World War I-era Navy mine.

The fire marshal’s office said the weapon was “rendered safe” underground at 5:10 a.m. in the park; the a facility was closed last year after other pieces of military ordnance were found there.

The blast on the year’s last day was just a bit early, the park neighbor said. A few hours later, and “nobody would have paid attention.”

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