Big blast, 29 injuries in NYC; pressure cooker device removed nearby

NEW YORK CITY - Authorities removed a second explosive device early Sunday — reportedly a pressure cooker — near the site of Saturday night's 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. He said the blast was intentional, but 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 the New York Police Department.

"The suspicious device on West 27 Street in Chelsea has been safely removed by the NYPD Bomb Squad," the police department tweeted at 2:24 a.m. ET Sunday.

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

"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.

More on the blast in New York City: NYC blast: What we know now

Here's what people in the Chelsea area saw

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

Images from the scene

The cause of the explosion had not been determined, but there was no sign that it was caused by a natural gas explosion, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the news conference.

"The investigation is active and at this time an extensive search is being conducted,” O'Neill said.  "The area around the explosion site is being treated as a crime scene," O'Neill said.

Based on what was known, there was also no connection to the earlier incident 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 Sixth 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.

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.

The White House said President Obama was apprised of the explosion.

News was just trickling out of some kind of explosion in New York City on Saturday night when Donald Trump said a "bomb" was behind the the blast in remarks at a campaign appearance at Colorado Springs.

“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on but, boy we are really in a time – we better get very tough, folks. We better get very tough. We’ll find out."

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was more cautious, saying she had been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota.”

“We have to let this investigation unfold,” she said. She added that the nation needs to support its first responders and “pray for the victims.”

Contributing: Elizabeth Weise, Nick Pugliese of The Record of New Jersey

 


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment