Shell Beach man hits grenade with ax while digging in his yard

A Pismo Beach man working in his yard struck his pickax against a grenade shortly after noon Thursday, causing a temporary evacuation of roughly a dozen houses on either side or across the street from him.

The county’s multijurisdictional bomb squad took away the grenade.

Ben Rothstein said he was working at home on Encanto when the axe struck a hard object and he heard a metallic clink. He thought he had struck a rock, but when he pulled out the object it looked like a grenade.

Rothstein said there was no pin, but he put the grenade out on a street and called a military friend, who told him to call 9-1-1.

Pismo Beach police set up a perimeter and called the bomb squad, according to Cmdr. Jake Miller.Nobody was hurt. Rothstein said “I wasn’t shaking or anything, but the thought that I struck it twice with the pickax was disconcerting.”

The bomb squad placed the grenade in a bomb-proof container and will dispose of it later, according to Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Dale Strobridge.