An “intentional” explosion shook New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29

New York City firefighters stand near the site of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.
New York City firefighters stand near the site of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.
Image: Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi
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This story has been updated.

An explosion shook several blocks of Manhattan on Saturday night (Sept. 17), injuring dozens of people, blowing out windows in the area, and rattling nerves across New York City.

“The early indication is this was an intentional act,” Bill de Blasio, the city’s mayor, said in a press conference near the scene of the explosion. But he added, “There is no specific and credible threat against New York City at this point in time from any terror organization.”

The explosion occurred near 135 West 23rd Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, which is a public housing complex for the blind. Local news reports said a dumpster outside the building exploded around 8:30pm local time. Images of a dented dumpster were tweeted from the scene:

In a sweep that evening, police located a plastic bag containing a pressure cooker with wiring and an attached cell phone a few blocks from the site of the explosion. The NYPD transported it to its firing range in the Bronx where a robot will inspect the device. The police confirmed the photo below, which circulated online early Sunday morning, as authentic, according to the New York Times.

At least 29 people were being treated for injuries, but none of them were life-threatening, officials said. The scene was calm in the aftermath of the explosion, as police and other officials secured the area. Another area, a few blocks north, was also closed off by police investigating another possible explosive device. By Sunday morning, 23rd Street remained closed.

On Sunday evening, authorities in Elizabeth, New Jersey confirmed that pipe bombs had also been found near the train station in that city, which is about 20 miles (32 km) from Manhattan. One bomb went off early Monday morning while being investigated from a distance via a robotic device.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for US president, immediately raised the specter of terrorism at a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado. ”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,” he said soon after the explosion. “We better get very tough, folks.”

Earlier in the day, a smaller explosion disrupted a road race to benefit marines and sailors in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Nobody was injured, and officials said it was caused by “pipe bomb-style device.”

“Based on what we know at this hour,” de Blasio said, “there is no specific connection to the incident in New Jersey.”