A mother and daughter are lucky to be alive after an 80-year-old WWII grenade they found on the beach exploded in their kitchen sink.
Jodie Crews, 38, and her daughter Isabella, eight, of Deal, Kent, initially thought the grenade was a fossil or old bone.
Ms Crews said: ‘I posted photos on fossil and archaeology sites and had lots of replies but no one suggested it could be a grenade.
‘One woman thought it looked like whale vomit and said I could find out by poking it with a hot pin. She said a puff of white smoke would come out.’
However, Ms Crews and Isabella then received the shock of their lives when the grenade suddenly burst into flames in the dining room of their home.
The World War II grenade burned itself out in the sink but melted part of the plastic windowsill, damaged the sink and filled the house with smoke
Ms Crews said: ‘It just turned into a fireball. My daughter screamed and ran out the back door. I grabbed the grenade and ran with it at arms’ length into the kitchen where I hurled it into the sink.
‘We just went into survival mode.
‘I then rushed upstairs to soak a towel to throw over it to put it out. The adrenalin must have kicked in and taken over.
‘My first thought was to save my daughter, house, cats and dogs. With my daughter safely in the garden I ran back upstairs to get the cats – we have four three-week-old kittens – and rounded up our two dogs, Teegan a border collie and Lulu a Pomeranian.’
Ms Crews said: ‘I posted photos on fossil and archaeology sites and had lots of replies but no one suggested it could be a grenade. One woman thought it looked like whale vomit and said I could find out by poking it with a hot pin. She said a puff of white smoke would come out’
In the meantime, neighbours rushed to their aid and one called the fire brigade.
The World War II grenade burned itself out in the sink but melted part of the plastic windowsill, damaged the sink and filled the house with smoke.
Jodie, who works for Kent County Council looking after adults with learning difficulties, said: ‘I have been told not to drink out of the taps as some of the chemicals from the grenade might have gone up them. It was a fireman who said it was a grenade. He said it was normally covered in a protective coating of wax.’
She added: ‘Isabella had been asking for a metal detector for Christmas. I think she might end up with a Nintendo Switch instead after this incident. It will be safer.’
The pair stumbled on the grenade while walking along Sandown beach last Saturday.
Ms Crews recalled: ‘We were taking the dogs for a walk and I found it on the pebbles. We often collect pieces of glass and driftwood as we like making things. We are very arty and crafty.
Jodie Crews (pictured), 38, and her daughter Isabella, eight, of Deal, Kent, initially thought the grenade was a fossil or old bone
‘It had strange ridges and looked more like a piece of bone. It wasn’t very heavy and weighed the same as a bag of sugar. I thought it might be an old knee joint. It didn’t feel metallic at all.’
The pair took it home where it took pride of place on the living room table.. By Thursday, after she had read suggestions on social media, Jodie settled down on the carpet to probe the object with a pin.
‘As soon as I put the pin in, the casing seemed to melt a bit and then the whole thing turned into a fireball. We were unbelievably lucky. It could have been a hundred times worse. All my friends have made me promise not to pick anything up from the beach again.’
She believes the 80-year-old grenade, left over from the Second World War, could have been washed up by recent storms and high tides.
She added: ‘My daughter was incredibly brave and did all the right things. She ran to safety and called for help. I am very proud of her.’