A Bradenton woman was helping clean out a neighbor's apartment after he moved this week. While inside, she came across a grenade strapped to flammable material inside the oven.
Don Ealand, 82, just moved out of his house a couple days ago. His neighbor, Darlene Miller, had come over to help finish boxing things up and clearing out the house. But when she went inside, made a startling discovery.
"I was like oh my God! That's dynamite. I did this--and went out the door! " Miller said.
Thankfully she is able to laugh about it now. But when Darlene first found an explosive device in her neighbor's oven strapped to some kind of block, it was no joke. She called the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
"I was worried about my neighbors. I just wanted them to be aware of what's going on and get them to safety," said Miller.
Deputies immediately evacuated the more than 100 residents in the mobile home park, who sat up the street and watched as the bomb squad came in to check things out. Robots screened and removed the device.
It turned out to be a grenade with a highly flammable material called nitrocellulose strapped to it, and the gas on the home's stove and a burner had been left on.
"I have sinus problems, but the officer smelled it. I couldn't smell it. When he smelled it, I'm like, 'Oh my God. It could've blew up in here!' said Miller.
Thankfully, the stove's pilot light wasn't ignited, and the explosives never lit. Miller says it's a bizarre situation, but understandable. She'd been helping take care of Don Ealand for two years.
"He can't remember a lot of things and lives a lot in the past," said Miller.
She says Don is a World War Two veteran with severe dementia, which ultimately required his son move him Texas to be closer to family. But she never expected lending him one last favor would lead a bombshell discovery and being evacuated from her home for eight hours.
"I'm just thankful we're all okay," said Miller.
Police in Texas have been able to talk to Don Ealand and his son, David. So far, no charges have been filed.