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Woman fired after reporting grenade

Her boss' souvenir hand grenade may not have exploded, but an airline employee's decision to report it to police blew up in her face _ she was sacked an hour later. "I got fired because I didn't want to work with a live grenade in the office," Nery Fadden, 33, told the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale for Thursday's editions.

Her former boss at now-defunct Quest Air International, Ralph Hurley, has moved, and his business partner, David A. Schroeder, said Hurley had no comment on the grenade.

Fadden, who had been the office manager for three years, said the incident occurred in February when Hurley brought the grenade into the office to use as a paperweight.

"He said not to pull the pin on it because if we did, we'd all be blown to bits. I said, "Are you serious?' He was dead serious."

She called police, who confiscated the grenade, later determining it was a dud. An hour after the police visit, Hurley fired her, she said.

Other officials at Quest Air said Fadden's job performance _ not the grenade _ led to her firing.

"It (the grenade report) had absolutely nothing to do with it," said George Thomas, the company's attorney. "I don't explain the timing. They finally reached a level of non-performance where they had to terminate her."

State unemployment officials, though, didn't buy that explanation. They awarded Fadden benefits because the company wasn't able to justify the dismissal.

Fadden was dismissed from the seven-person office Feb. 25, but did not go public until reading about a sixth-grader charged with a felony in May for bringing a dummy grenade to University School at Nova University.

Grenades of any sort are illegal and have no place in public, said Robert Manske of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office in Fort Lauderdale.

However, Hurley was not charged with any crime.

"Why does he get away with it and this kid gets nailed?" Fadden said.

Hurley was not charged because the grenade was only a paperweight, Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Robert Gren said.

"Technically, he could have been charged, but that would have been silly," Gren said. The grenade was dumped in the ocean.

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