The explosion occurred on the eastern edge of Chelsea, one of Manhattan’s gay neighbourhoods.
On a usual Saturday night in Chelsea with thousands of locals and tourists enjoying restaurants and bars of this trendy area of New York, an explosive device exploded at 8.30.pm blowing out the lower windows of a 14-story residence for the blind.
Hundreds of people fled the scene after the blast, and witnesses described the incident as harrowing as they were enjoying a night out in the city.
Police sources told the New York Post the explosion could have been caused by an “explosive device”; New York City mayor Bill de Blasio later said at a press conference the explosion did appear to be “an intentional act,” but wouldn’t go as far to call it terrorism.
The blast left 29 people injured, including one with serious injuries. Most of the injured were taken to Bellevue Hospital, which had a heavy police presence.
A second device believed to be a pressure cooker was subsequently found on West 27th Street, four blocks from the initial blast on West 23rd, according to New York Police Department. The NYPD tweeted at about 2:24 a.m. ET Sunday that, “The suspicious device on West 27 Street in Chelsea has been safely removed by the NYPD Bomb Squad.”
It is unclear who was behind the blast and what motivated it.
The White House said President Barack Obama has been informed of the explosion in New York City and will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Police have video from businesses on the street where the explosion happened, which could provide key details about the hours before the attack and De Blasio urged witnesses who took video of the blast to send them to the NYPD.