According to Fox News, an explosion that injured at least 29 people in New York City late Saturday night appeared to be “intentional,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, as sources told Fox News an apparent explosive device – a pressure cooker – was found four blocks away.
— N∑H∆ (@nnehajainn) September 18, 2016
The blast, on West 23rd Street in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, appeared to originate from a construction toolbox in front of a building, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. A garbage can was found mangled nearby. Police would not give any more details about the device found on West 27th Street.
We are responding to an explosion at West 23 / 6 Ave. – updates to follow
— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) September 18, 2016
Fox News was told there had been no prior intelligence suggesting Saturday’s events may have been imminent. Sources also said it did not appear to be a gas explosion.
The FBI and New York Police Department would not rule out terrorism as a possible factor but said it was too early to determine the exact cause, law enforcement sources told Fox News. Police did not say whether they had any potential suspects.
Police counter-terrorism officers, a bomb squad and firefighters rushed to the scene.
"Louder than any thunder I've ever heard in my life. Like the sky exploded. Shook the building" NYC explosion pic.twitter.com/WsY3Ax7PS7
— Liz Mandel (@elisabetherapy) September 18, 2016
Investigators said 24 people were hospitalized, with one of them hurt “seriously” by a puncture wound.
“All hands are on deck,” de Blasio said at a news conference Saturday night. All of the injured were expected to survive, the FDNY reported.
The explosion shattered windows at a nearby home for the blind, The New York Post added.
A witness described the explosion as “very forceful,” telling Fox News it sent a “big cloud of black smoke” into the air as people ran from the scene. Another said a fireball shot into the air as a nearby building shook.
A National Guard member near the scene told Fox News the explosion was so loud that he put on his uniform and raced to the area.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and urge New Yorkers to, as always, remain calm and vigilant,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded.
Witnesses say FBI and Homeland Security officials are also at the scene. Crews were evacuating at least two buildings, the Post added.
Earlier Saturday, a planned charity run for Marines and sailors was canceled after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, a 90-minute drive south of New York City.
Police blocked off nearby streets as the investigation continued.
President Obama was briefed on the explosion, a White House official told Fox News.
Chris Gonzalez, visiting from Dallas, was having dinner with friends. She said the restaurant went quiet after the explosion.
The initial call came in at 8:40 p.m. Eastern time, police said.