A powerful explosion rocked a bustling New York City neighborhood and injured at least 29 people Saturday, and another suspicious device was discovered blocks away and safely removed, according to various news reports.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out any connection to terrorism but called the blast “intentional.”
“Tonight, New York City experienced a very bad incident,” de Blasio said at a news conference near the scene in on 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Chelsea, the Associated Press reports. “We have no credible and specific threat at this moment.”
Hours earlier, a pipe bomb had exploded in Seaside Park, N.J., and forced the cancellation of a 5K charity run there. No injuries were reported. De Blasio said the two incidents were unrelated.
AP reports that a second device was found four blocks from the scene in a white bag and appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a cellphone. The device was safely removed with a robot.
Witnesses said that the explosion happened at about 8:30 p.m. and blew out the windows of businesses and scattered debris in the area. The homemade bomb reportedly exploded in a toolbox.
According to the New York Times, de Blasio noted that “injuries are significant.” But for the moment, he said, none of them were life-threatening. The Fire Department of New York said that 24 people were taken to hospitals.
“It was red, orange in the middle. It was a circle of fire,” said a witness, Deborah Griffith, to the New York Daily News. “The whole block shook. The fire was up in the air. People were running for their lives.”
The FBI and Homeland Security officials, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arson and explosive task force, were at the scene, AP reports.
The White House said that President Barack Obama was apprised of the explosion.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said that she had been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota.” Clinton was referring to a Minnesota mall attack in which eight people were stabbed or otherwise injured. The suspect in that incident was killed by police.
“We have to let this investigation unfold,” Clinton added.
Donald Trump moved ahead of New York City officials when he declared that a “bomb went off” before officials had released details. He made the announcement minutes after stepping off his plane in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said.
As of Sunday morning, 23rd Street in Manhattan was closed off.