Explosion in NY's Chelsea neighborhood injures 29

NEW YORK - NEW YORK — Authorities here have found an explosive device 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 tat there was no specific terrorist threat.

A device believed to be a pressure cooker has been found on West 27th Street, four blocks from the initial blast on West 23rd, and is under investigation, according to New York Police Department.

"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.

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.

Klaas Claes, co-owner of BXL Zoute, a Belgian restaurant on West 22nd Steet 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 pm

The explosion came just after 8:30 pm at 133 West 23rd Street, 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 reported 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 pm, New York police and news helicopters hovered over the scene beneath a full harvest moon.

Manhattan: Box 615, West 23 St & 6th Ave. U/D; IED Explosion in dumpster, multiple injured, photo via @voicehalf pic.twitter.com/pDKaPeoJmp

— New York City Alerts (@NYCityAlerts) September 18, 2016
Tweets from the area describe "one loud long boom."

One loud long boom NYC explosion. Never heard anything like it pic.twitter.com/CB83TVQHru

— Liz Mandel (@elisabetherapy) September 18, 2016

The New York Police Counter-Terrorism unit has responded to the blast. Transit service in the area has been shut down, according to the New York Fire Department.

Major explosion right around the corner from my apartment in #NYC just happened.#safe #chelsea #explosion #rightnow pic.twitter.com/yr2Tfnqp4U

— Aiden Leslie (@aidenleslie) September 18, 2016

Earlier in the day a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, N.J., near a Marine charity run. The device was placed in a garbage can. No injuries were reported.

 

 


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