NEW YORK — An explosion Saturday night in Manhattan’s crowded Chelsea neighborhood that injured 29 people, only one seriously, was “an intentional act,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, but there’s “no evidence at this point of a terror connection.”
De Blasio said there is no known connection to a pipe-bomb explosion in the New Jersey shore town of Seaside Park earlier Saturday at a charity run. There were no injuries there.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said a total of 29 people were injured in the Chelsea blast. Nigro said one person’s injuries were serious, and the rest were minor.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said officers are investigating a possible second explosive device a few blocks away from the explosion, which happened at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday on West 23rd Street, a major thoroughfare with many restaurants.
The blast happened in front of a residence for the blind, and witnesses said it blew out the windows of businesses in the area. It also affected some routes.
The explosion appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Chris Gonzalez, visiting from Dallas, was having dinner with friends at a restaurant in the area.
“We felt it, we heard it, the restaurant went real quiet,” the 26-year-old Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t like jolting or anything, everyone just went quiet.”
Witnesses said the FBI and federal Department of Homeland Security officials, along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ arson and explosive task force were also at the scene.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the FBI’s joint terrorism task force was responding and that investigators did not believe the incident was due to a gas leak.
The White House said President Barack Obama has been apprised of the explosion in New York City.
The reports of a possible blast come hours after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before thousands of runners participated in a charity 5K race to benefit Marines and sailors. No injuries were reported there.