29 Hurt in ‘Intentional’ Manhattan Explosion

September 18, 2016

Twenty-nine people were injured after an explosion occurred in a Manhattan neighborhood Saturday evening, a blast that the mayor said has not been linked to terrorism but which appears to have been an “intentional act.”

None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, but one could be characterized as serious, officials said. The explosion on West 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Chelsea was reported at around 8:30 p.m.

“There is no evidence at this point of a terror connection to this incident,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a press conference, stressing that the investigation is in its early stages. He added: “The initial indication is this was an intentional act.”

Investigators found a “possible secondary device” a few blocks away at 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the New York Police Department said on Twitter shortly after 11 p.m.

Three law enforcement sources told NBC News investigators at the second location were examining what appeared to be a pressure cooker with “tape, wires and a cell phone” left out on the sidewalk. The sources said they have seen a photo of the object. It has not been confirmed that the object is an explosive device. The bomb squad was investigating.

Police had said the blast in Chelsea appeared to come from inside a large trash bin, and photos on social media appeared to show a bin mangled in the explosion, but NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the explosion is believed to have occurred on the street.

“It was a loud boom, a deep boom,” an eyewitness who was eating dinner nearby when the blast occurred said. “We all ran out and went down the street. You could feel it in your chest and in your legs.”

The exact nature and cause of the blast has not been determined, O’Neill said. The explosion was captured on video, he said. “We do have video, and we see the explosion,” O’Neill said. No arrests have been made, he said.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said a New York arson and explosives task force was responding to the blast.

President Barack Obama was apprised of the situation, a White House official said.

“There was a loud boom and our entire apartment shook,” said Neha Jain, 24, who lives on West 23rd and Sixth Avenue. “All the pictures fell to the floor and then I heard people screaming.”

Jain said the explosion shattered the glass in her building’s lobby. “My first thought was it’s a bomb,” Jain said. “It’s quite terrifying.”

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