Trains arrive at and depart Yongsan Station in Seoul, South Korea, in this undated photo.

Trains arrive at and depart Yongsan Station in Seoul, South Korea, in this undated photo. (Pixabay)

Unexploded ordnance believed to date to the Korean War was recovered Tuesday by the South Korean military in Seoul about 1 ¼ miles from the U.S. Army’s Yongsan Garrison.

A railway worker clearing soil for a zoning project discovered the ordnance at a construction site behind Yongsan Station around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Yongsan Fire Station official told Stars and Stripes by phone Thursday.

The worker spotted smoke billowing from the ground and the fire department was called to investigate, according to the fire station official. Firefighters doused the object with water and requested assistance from South Korean army explosive ordnance disposal technicians around 4 p.m. the same day.

The technicians did not detonate the ordnance at the scene but collected it for further investigation, a South Korean army headquarters spokesman said by phone Thursday.

A preliminary investigation indicates the ordnance dates to the 1950-53 Korean War, the army spokesman said. Additional information, such as whether it was a hand grenade or artillery shell, was not immediately available due to the rust and corrosion on the object, he added.

No injuries were reported, according to officials from the fire department and South Korean army. South Korean officials regularly speak to the media on the customary condition of anonymity.

The site is just over a mile from Yongsan Garrison, where about 113 Defense Department civilian employees and U.S. service members are stationed.

Yongsan’s emergency services monitored the situation and “determined a heightened alert was not necessary,” garrison spokesman Luciano Vera said by email Thursday.

Unexploded ordnance was also found at a construction site near Yongsan Station on April 10, according to a report that day from South Korean broadcaster MBC. The discovery reportedly delayed Seoul trains for 10 minutes while the army dismantled the object.

Unexploded ordnance and land mines are still a threat at the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea about 25 miles north of Seoul. Over 5 million artillery rounds were fired between allied and communist forces in the last two months of the Korean War and up to 2 million unexploded ordnance and land mines are estimated to remain on the border, according to United Nations Command’s website.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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