Man finds pipe bomb in Johnston Twp. basement, sets it on porch

Lee Nickells just bought the house along Bradley Brownlee Road in Johnston Township -- which had been vacant -- a couple of weeks ago

Man finds pipe bomb in Johnston Township home.


JOHNSTON TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – A man made an alarming discovery on his day off while he was cleaning out his new home.

Lee Nickells found a pipe bomb while cleaning out the basement of the Johnston Township home just before noon on Friday.

The Youngstown Bomb Squad said it was equivalent to a military hand grenade and when Nickells found it, it was still live — meaning it could have gone off.

“Just getting rid of some stuff down there to throw out and one of the items I picked up off the shelf happened to be a pipe bomb.”

He carried the rusted, old bomb upstairs and set it on his front porch outside.

“I mean, I shouldn’t have, but I already had it in my hand. I set it on my front porch and called the sheriff’s department immediately.”

After emergency crews arrived and saw what Nickells discovered, they called the Youngstown Bomb Squad.

Their robot was unable to get the bomb off the porch, so a crew member had to suit up and carry the bomb away before detonating it on site.

“People underestimate the danger of a pipe bomb. When it detonates, shrapnel from the pipe itself when the pipe comes apart, shrapnel goes everywhere,” Lt. Doug Bobovnyik said.

Nickells just bought the house along Bradley Brownlee Road — which had been vacant — a couple of weeks ago.

He wished he could have found something a little more valuable in the basement.

“I didn’t expect that. I was really hoping for some money, or coin collections, or something like that, not a pipe bomb,” Nickells said.

The bomb squad searched the home for more explosives and weapons.

Bradley Brownlee Road was temporarily shut down and neighboring homes and a church were evacuated until everything was safe.

The bomb squad said it will continue to investigate to see who owned the home before Nickells bought it.

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