An explosion rocked the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and injured at least 25 people on Saturday, the New York City Fire Department said, prompting emergency personnel to swarm one of the most bustling areas of the city on a cool autumn evening.
A law enforcement source said an initial investigation suggested the explosion occurred in a dumpster but the cause was still undetermined. Another official close to the investigation told Reuters that investigators were considering the possibility that the blast was accidentally triggered by construction explosives.
The blast occurred at about 8:30 p.m. (0030 GMT on Sunday) between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue on 23rd Street, a major east-west thoroughfare in the fashionable downtown neighborhood of Chelsea, J. Peter Donald, a deputy commissioner with the New York Police Department, said in a Twitter message
Videos started surfacing on the web showing the explosion. Metro posted the video showing the explosion which caused panic among the people walking on the streets. Civilians were seen running away from the sight after the explosion in the video.
Watch Video: New York City explosion caught on tape
Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled out any terror connections, but called the blast an ‘intentional act’. “Tonight, New York City experienced a very bad incident,” de Blasio said at a news conference near the scene in Chelsea. “We have no credible and specific threat at this moment.”
President Barack Obama, who was attending a congressional dinner in Washington, “has been apprised of the explosion in New York City, the cause of which remains under investigation,” a White House official said.
Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she has been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota.”
She says the nation needs to support its first responders and ‘pray for the victims’. “We have to let this investigation unfold,” she said.
(Inputs from Agencies)