An Army explosives expert was called in by Alabama authorities late Friday night after a man arrived by ambulance at a local hospital with an explosive device lodged in his leg.
According to AL.com, the unidentified 60-year-old man had been tinkering with a 40mm practice grenade when it launched, embedding itself in his thigh.
The man arrived at UAB hospital by ambulance late Friday night after he was refused admittance at another hospital.
Upon his arrival, the man was kept in the ambulance outside the hospital as police cordoned off the streets out of safety concerns.
Law enforcement officials from at least a half dozen agencies were called to the scene including police from Birmingham and Jasper, ATF agents, FBI, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Army EOD.
Both Birmingham police and the SBI dispatched bomb squads to the site.
Police were unsure what type of device they were dealing with until the Army explosive expert removed it, ending the eight-hour ordeal.
“That was extremely heroic,’ said Dave Hyche, a Birmingham supervisor with the ATF. “Nobody knew this wasn’t live. Removing it could have easily killed everyone there.”
The victim told police he had been disassembling the grenade when it launched, with parts of the device breaking windows in his home. The man stated that it had not been in a launcher when it went off.
According to authorities, when launched, practice grenades can travel up to several hundred meters. Authorities were expected to search the man’s home looking for more and track down the source of the explosives.
“He’s given us some indication where he got it, and we’re following up on leads to see if there are any more” Hyche said. “We don’t want anybody else getting hurt.”
Hyche also had high praise for the paramedics who stayed with the man throughout the evening.
“The Jasper paramedics stayed with the guy all night and saved his life,” Hyche said. “Had it been high explosive, it could have taken that ambulance apart.”