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Fear of explosion forces evacuation

Concern about the potential for an explosion prompted police to evacuate a River Falls neighborhood Friday afternoon.

River Falls police were called to a home in the 200 block of West Division Street at midday.

The owners of the residence are deceased, a departmental spokesman said, and a company had come into the house to prepare an estate sale.

They found a container labeled "military ordnance" and notified police, who contacted the military. After hearing a description, military authorities advised police to evacuate the area and call in a bomb squad in case it should detonate.

The Marathon County Bomb Squad came to the home and removed what police said was "large military ordnance." They took it back to dispose of it under safe conditions. The bomb squad also searched the house to make certain there were no more containers.

While authorities were dealing with the ordnance, Division Street was closed between Clark and Freemont streets. Residents were "strongly advised" to voluntarily evacuate; the Public Library was made available as a shelter.

Police said the barricades went up between noon and 1 p.m. and were removed around 4:30 p.m. when they determined that it was safe for residents to return to their homes.