Discovery of replica grenades prompts evacuation of El Cerrito homes

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The discovery of what appeared to be three military hand grenades prompted the evacuation of five homes this afternoon in El Cerrito, police said.

The discovery came as officers were doing a welfare check on an 81-year-old resident who lived on Central Avenue near the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.

The man had not been heard from in two weeks, according to police.

Police initially went to the home at 11:40 a.m. and didn't see the man in the home. They returned later and saw him on the floor of the home.

Officers went in and confirmed he was dead but also saw what looked like three grenades.

Police said they called a bomb squad, the fire department and an ambulance and evacuated five homes near the decedent's home. A bomb squad arrived about 45 minutes later and determined the grenades did not contain any explosive material but were replicas.

Police said the grenades were collected to be destroyed.

The man appeared to have died from natural causes, according to police.