Just after 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday night, New York City's Chelsea neighborhood was rocked by an explosion that injured at least 29 people. Blocks away from the original blast site, police discovered a second device—a pressure cooker—about three hours after the first blast.
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) September 18, 2016
The explosion took place on West 23rd Street, apparently going off in or around a dumpster. Deborah Griffith, 60, who was at a nearby restaurant, said the blast consumed the dumpster in a large fireball that then lifted smoke several stories into the air. "People were running, holding their ears, rubbing their ears," she told the Post, describing the scene. In a press conference afterwards, Mayor Bill de Blasio assured the city that while they believe the blast to be "intentional," there was "no evidence at this point of a terror connection," and that there was no "credible or specific threat" to residents. Tensions rose, however, when a second device was found; people on Twitter are accusing authorities and the media for downplaying the incident.
In reference to the second device, which appears to be a pressure cooker, a police source told The Post that "the bomb squad believes it's real."CNN reports that while police have not confirm what's inside the pressure cooker, it appears to be duct taped, with a dark device (possibly a cell phone) and wiring attached to it. After the second device was discovered, NYPD has been clearing and removing people from the area, CNN stated in a television broadcast. Those at home received alerts advising them to stay away from their windows. Residents in the neighborhood also told NYC's Pix11 that they weren't allowed to return to their homes.
Authorities are now combing the area to make sure there aren't any additional explosives in the streets, looking in trash cans, doorways and under cars. ABC News reports that while other suspicious packages have been found, none have been deemed dangerous at this time. Police are also looking through surveillance footage; they have identified one individual who was at the location of the West 23rd Street bombing, but have yet to determine whether or not that individual was involved.
Despite Mayor de Blasio and other authorities making an effort to keep the city calm, residents are shaken.
"I walk down the street every day. ... This is my main thoroughfare. I'm either in an Uber, a cab, or on foot on this street all the time. This is my neighborhood. This isn't a tourist attraction. It's just the middle of the city. It does frighten me,"one man told NY1.
According to Danilo Gabrielli, who lives a block away from the explosion site, "the entire neighborhood is real scared."
Security in Chelsea and across the city has been heightened; armed guards are being stationed at hospitals where those injured have been taken.
This story is developing.