Several houses were evacuated Saturday afternoon as police investigated whether a hand grenade was inside an apartment at 349 Winslow St.
A portion of Winslow Street was blocked off for more than three hours and the Fort Drum bomb squad was called to the scene, a Jefferson County 911 dispatcher said.
Acting Battalion Chief Robert D. Seeber of the Watertown City Fire Department said the incident began at about 1:10 p.m. when city police went to make an arrest at that address. It later was determined that the suspicious device actually was an urn that resembled a grenade and contained human ashes, he said.
Neighbors were anxious throughout the incident that ended shortly before 4:30 p.m., especially when the bomb squad showed up with an explosive-detecting robot that was used in front of the duplex.
Thats when I got nervous, said expectant mother Christine S. Wade, whose baby shower across the street was interrupted by the incident.
Her father, Robert L. Wade, said police cars blocked off a portion of the street from both ends while police, firefighters and the bomb squad tried to figure out the situation. Neighbors from about five houses were told to leave their homes until officials determined it was safe to return, he said.
They told the 20 baby shower guests to either go inside the home or head to the backyard, he said. Several of them were just arriving when the incident began, Ms. Dade said.
There were cops all over the place, Mr. Wade said.
The unidentified man who lives there was suicidal, a police officer at the station said, declining further comment because he was not at the scene.
Ms. Wade said the man was escorted out of the house by police, handcuffed and bloodied. He was taken to an ambulance, but his condition and whereabouts were not known Saturday night.
The man, who has lived there a short time, was the husband of a woman killed April 29 in an accident on Mill Street in which she jumped out of a moving vehicle and was dragged underneath, the father and daughter said. On Saturday night, neither police nor fire officials could not confirm that.
The man had fought in either Iraq or Afghanistan and was severely wounded in the war, they said.
He seemed really nice, she said. Hes been going through a lot.
A month after the accident, police determined that Angela C. Perdue, 24, whose address was listed at that apartment, did not intend to die, but she jumped out of the car of her own volition. The vehicles driver, John C. Preston, 24, Dayton, Ohio, was cited with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.