Skip to comments.Paperweight Explodes, Severs Teacher's Hand
Posted on 04/04/2006 3:45:50 PM PDT by Trueblackman
Paperweight Explodes, Severs Teacher's Hand Tuesday , April 04, 2006 VENTURA, Calif. A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug, authorities say. The 5-inch-long shell exploded Monday while Robert Colla was teaching 20 to 25 students at an adult education class. Part of Colla's right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, fire Capt. Tom Weinell said. No one else was injured. He was reported in stable condition at a hospital. The teacher slammed the shell down in an attempt to kill something that was buzzing or crawling across the desk, said Fire Marshal Glen Albright. Colla found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago and "obviously he didn't think the round was live," said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design alongside Colla.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Like no other "JD"....
I was just gonna post this, so you saved me some work. The moral of this story: never use live ammunition in place of office equipment.
Darwin Award nominee.
How big was the "bug"?????????????
Had to be a lib!
What about that "zero tolerance" stuff?
Is that only for Swiss Army knives?
I wonder what impact area he hunts in?
Ventura County and Santa Barbara County Ping List!
I guess the story is going national now. Poor guy. He's lucky he wasn't killed or that one of his students weren't injured.
I guess it is time to sue the ammunition maker for not having instructions stamped into their ammo in Spanish.
Pathetic. How can one NOT KNOW if ammo has a live primer in it?
Well? Did he get the bug?
I remember at my grandparents house they had some sort of mortar round (? that's what my cousin called it) that they used to prop open one of those old double-hung windows with a broken sash cord.
It looked like an overgrown .22 round. Probably 2 or 2.5 inches in diameter and maybe 10 12 inches long.
It seriously looked like a giant .22 round except it wasnt a rimfire and the primer had been dimpled. Plus someone had drilled a small hole in the base so you could tell it didnt have any powder in it.
I always guessed that someone had reloaded it with a giant new bullet after it had been fired because I cant really imagine anyone drilling a hole in the side to take the powder out plus the primer had been struck with something.
Heck, that had to be way back in the early 60s
IIRC, Tom Wolfe remarked on filling one's house with nerve gas to deter burglars.
We better check and see if he's using a 25 mm Bradley shell as a backscratcher. Those are like small sticks of C4 and they can really do some damage. Send the bomb squad in to check this guy's office.
It sounds as if it was just the projectile- without the casing. A full 40mm round might be a bit awkward as a paperweight.
Still- you find ordnance laying around- assume it to be live unless you know for sure otherwise is the moral of the story.
I'll bet the bug escaped. Little b@$tard...
Here's the write up from the local paper, the Ventura County Star.
Exploding ammunition injures Ventura teacher
By John Scheibe,
April 4, 2006
Part of a Ventura instructor's right hand was severed Monday afternoon after he struck an object on his classroom desk against an old 40 mm round of ammunition while teaching.
The accidental discharge also left Robert Colla with severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, said Tom Weinell, a captain with the Ventura Fire Department.
No one else was injured in the explosion, even though there were 20 to 25 people in the classroom with Colla at the Ventura Adult Education Center on Valentine Road when the explosion occurred at 4:06 p.m.
Colla was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition Monday evening.
"It was just a horrible accident," said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design alongside Colla.
Huston said he had his back turned to Colla and was only about three feet away when he heard a loud bang.
He turned around to find Colla screaming, his right hand mangled.
The explosion sent shrapnel flying around the classroom, Huston said. One piece went into the ceiling, while another landed where a student would normally sit. Huston said the student was absent Monday.
Colla had found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago, Huston said. He used it as a paperweight and "obviously he didn't think the round was live," Huston said.
"He'd had it for years and years and nothing had happened before," Huston said. He described the round as about an inch-and-a-half wide and about five inches long.
The explosion also destroyed a computer keyboard, scattering some of the keys around Colla's desk.
Barry Tronstad, the center's director, said he didn't hear the explosion even though he was in the building at the time.
"I was alerted by the smoke alarm," Tronstad said.
The center is run by the Ventura Unified School District.
It looked just like this picture from e-bay, except that as I recall the grooves were closer together, so it would produce smaller fragments.
Great toy for a kid!
I saw this in a
movie Donald Duck cartoon.
But I got's to know. Did he get 'im?
Working as a divemaster years ago early 90's), we hobbled onto an undiscovered wreck of a coast gaurd cutter lost during a hurricane in 1943. On it we found racks port and starboard full of still pinned depth charges and cases upon cases of 3" shells from it's deck gun.
Although we left the depth charges well enough alone we did bring back several of the 3" shells and had a munitions expert take them apart to find the primers still working and the cordite still dry and flashed as it should have.
50 years later and 110' under the Atlantic and they still would have worked.
how did he have a live 40mm shell on a desk in a california school without someone saying something? Maybe they all carry one?
His students will never forget that day's lesson!
I'll bet that student who would have been sitting where the shrapnel fell if he hadn't been absent is thanking God he wasn't there.
Not too many people know this, but the oil refinery near Ventura was shelled by a Japanese sub in the early days of WWII. I wonder if this guy found one of the unexploded shells from the attack, only to have it finally go off in his hand 64 years later?
No, the Japanese fired rounds from a 75 mm deck gun, not a 40 mm. The 5" length mentioned says it was a complete round. Had the teacher found an already fired 40 mm round it would be much shorter.
Must have been a center-fire-pede or a rim-fire-roach.
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