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California city evacuation lifted after military ordnance found

(Reuters) - An evacuation order was lifted in a California city on Thursday after a piece of potentially explosive "military ordnance" reported in its business district was rendered safe, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said.

A sheriff's department bomb squad and a disposal unit from Vandenberg Air Force Base investigated the unidentified device, which was reported at around 3:30 p.m. in Solvang, a town of about 5,000 residents some 130 miles outside Los Angeles.

Residents in 500 to 700 homes and businesses had been ordered to leave on Wednesday.

There were no reports of injury. It was unclear whether any threat remained. The American Red Cross set up a location to assist displaced people, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said.

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, the bomb units removed the military ordnance and "rendered it safe." The evacuation was lifted and residents were allowed to return to their homes, the sheriff's office said.

Officials released a picture of what appeared to be an artillery shell nestled on plastic bags, but did not provide any details.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Larry King and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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