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US Army analyzing metal canisters found in Fort Totten Park in Washington, DC

The U.S. Army is investigating the origins of two metal canisters that a National Parks employee discovered Tuesday in a large mound at Fort Totten Park in Washington, D.C., officials said.

Part of the park was closed for public safety just east of Fort Totten Drive, south of Gallatin Street, and north of Brookland Ave NE/Farragut Street, the National Park Service (NPS) said. Multiple roads were also closed out of an abundance of caution.

The canisters were found in a mound of soil along Farragut Street and appeared to have been pushed into the park from the road, officials said.

Katie Liming, an NPS spokeswoman, told FOX5 DC that the “concern could be an unexploded ordnance,” but the incident was still under investigation.

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Cops at closed at of Fort Totten Park

Police and firefighters responded to Fort Totten Park in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, closing part of the park out of an abundance of caution. (FOX5 DC WTTG)

NPS urged citizens to stay out of the area while the Army was working to safely remove the canisters.

The Army will analyze the canisters and any contents, along with several mounds of soil along the edge of the road, at Marine Corps Base Quantico to determine their origins.

police car at Fort Totten Park

The United States Park police blocked off part of Fort Totten Park after a National Parks employee found metal canisters in a mound of soil. (FOX5 DC WTTG)

The canisters found Tuesday are not the first metal canisters to be found at Fort Totten Park.

In July 2020, the NPS discovered an empty WWI-era metal canister on the surface of the ground in a different area of the park, east of the Metrorail Station, while working on the Fort Totten Trail. 

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NPS officials believed at the time that the canister could be an unexploded ordnance. The canister was promptly removed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Defense.

firefighters at Fort Totten Park

The U.S. Army is analyzing the canisters and their contents, if any, to determine their origins. (FOX5 DC WTTG)

The DOD found that the munition was an unfused and unused empty canister. The origin of the munition was unknown, and it was safely disposed of. 

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After the 2020 discovery, the NPS said it investigated the area around the trail for additional metal canisters and none were found. 

Fort Totten was constructed between 1861 and 1863 as part of the Northern defenses during the Civil War. The fort was named in honor of Brig. Gen. Joseph G. Totten, Chief Engineer in the U.S. Army. 

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