Explosion in NY's Chelsea neighborhood injures 29

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and officials spoke at a press conference late Saturday evening about an explosion that injured at least 29 people in the Chelsea neighborhood.

NEW YORK — Authorities here found and on early Sunday removed an explosive device — reportedly a pressure cooker — near the site of a Saturday night blast that injured more than two dozen people in the Chelsea neighborhood.

At a news conference before the discovery of a second device, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the explosion injured at least 29 people but that there was no specific terrorist threat.

A device believed to be a pressure cooker was subsequently found on West 27th Street, four blocks from the initial blast on West 23rd, according to New York Police Department. The NYPD tweeted at about 2:24 a.m. ET Sunday that, "The suspicious device on West 27 Street in Chelsea has been safely removed by the NYPD Bomb Squad."

"There is no specific and credible threat to New York City from any terror organization,"  de Blasio said at a news conference late Saturday night.

However, early indications were that the attack was intentional, de Blasio said.

"We believe at this point in time this was an intentional act. I want to assure all New Yorkers that the NYPD and ... agencies are at full alert," he said.

Anyone with any information regarding the explosion is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS.

There was no sign that the explosion was caused by a natural gas explosion, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the press conference.

Based on what is currently known, there was also no connection to the incident earlier Saturday in Seaside Heights, N.J., where a pipe bomb exploded near a Marine charity run, de Blasio said. In that instance the device was placed in a garbage can. No injuries were reported.

Ramon Lopez was at West 23rd and 6th Avenue when the explosion happened. “It felt like a building was coming down,” said the 48-year-old East Harlem resident.

He ran about a half block away then turned around and ran back to the scene to help people. He spotted a woman with a metal fragment in her eye saying “I can’t see. I can’t see.” Lopez took her by the arm to an ambulance that had just arrived on the scene.

Lopez saw other victims bleeding from small spherical fragments and metal shards.

“I was telling (the victims) it was minor, but it was major,” he said. “If I told them it was major they would collapse.”

Klaas Claes, co-owner of BXL Zoute, a Belgian restaurant on West 22nd near the blast scene, said the explosion sounded like the rear gate slamming on a large dump truck, "only ten times louder."

"You could feel it in your body, it was very powerful'" said Claes.

He and some restaurant customers ran outside, but saw no immediate signs of fire or smoke, Claes said.

Police and fire department responders arrived at the scene moments later, he said.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said the Chelsea explosion was not in a dumpster but next to one in the street.

Blast at 8:30 p.m.

The explosion came just after 8:30 p.m. ET at 133 W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, the New York City Fire Department said.

The cause of the explosion has not been determined. "The investigation is active and at this time an extensive search is being conducted,” New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the press conference.

"The area around the explosion site is being treated as a crime scene," O'Neill said.

 

 

Several injured were transported to area hospitals, assistant commissioner for communication with the New York City Police Department J. Peter Donald tweeted.

The explosion area occurred a block away from Eataly, a popular Italian market and eatery. The neighborhood has many late-night and after-hours music clubs. At 11 p.m., New York police and news helicopters hovered over the scene beneath a full harvest moon.

“Whatever the cause, New Yorkers will not be intimidated, they will not let anyone change who we are,” deBlasio said.
Tweets from the area describe "one loud long boom."
The New York Police Counter-Terrorism unit responded to the blast and transit service in the area was shut down, according to the New York Fire Department.
 


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