An “explosive device” has detonated in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, the New York City fire department confirms. Firefighters and police officers responded to an explosion on Saturday night. At least 25 people are said to have been injured in the blast.
The fire department was deployed to a building at 135 West 23rd Street near Sixth Avenue around 8.30pm – none of the casualties are thought to be life threatening.
At least three people were seen being taken away on a stretcher from the scene of the blast in ambulances, the area has now been cornered off. There are now fears that there could be a secondary device in the area, as witnesses say the blast was so loud it could be heard from ‘miles away.’
A huge number of police and fire representatives are on the scene, as hundreds of onlookers enjoying a Saturday night out were caught up in the explosion. Authorities told crowds to stay back as it is a ‘dangerous area.’ Police have ruled out that the blast was a gas explosion. They believe that the explosion could be an IED bomb.
It was reported that part of buildings may have collapsed and windows have been shattered. Multiple social media users posted photos of the aftermath and injured victims.
New York City Police issued a bulletin advising motorists in the area that they should ‘expect extensive traffic delays and emergency personnel in the area of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue’ due to police activity there and asking the public to avoid the area.
The blast, according to a witness, occurred on 23rd Street, a major east-west thoroughfare in the fashionable downtown neighborhood of Chelsea.
Hundreds of people were seen fleeing down the block, as police cordoned off the area. The explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood comes just hours after the deadly pipe bomb that exploded along a route where thousands of runners were due to take part in a charity run in New Jersey.
More than one thousand spectators, including war veterans and small children, had gathered just a few blocks from the blast in Jersey Shore town on Saturday afternoon.
Two more pipe bombs, that hadn’t exploded, were found in a garbage can near the event which sought to raise money for marines and sailors. The pipe bomb near D Street exploded about 9.30am – the exact time runners were due to pass that location.