At least 26 people were injured on Saturday (17 September) following an explosion in a dumpster in the lower Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea. The blast was reported shortly before 9pm EST (2am BST) on West 23rd Street, the New York Fire Department (NYFD) confirmed.
"This is a very dense area, the whole block is restaurants and residences and this area on a warm Saturday night is an area swarming with people," City Councilman Cory Johnson told 1010 WINS, according to CBS New York.
Johnson confirmed that the area was cordoned off and that the FBI, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies were on the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced on Twitter that its NY arson and explosives task force was also responding to the incident.
According to ABC News, the New York Police Department Bomb Squad is searching the area and checking garbage cans for possible explosive devices. NYPD chief of Transportation Thomas Chan tweeted that first responders were at West 23rd Street by 6th and 7th Aves and asked that the public "avoid the area & expect delays & closures in regards".
Most the victims have reportedly sustained minor injuries. Johnson tweetedthat 23 of the injured have minor injuries, one has moderate injuries and the status of the two remaining injured is unknown.
The explosion occurred hours after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Heights, New Jersey at the start of a charity run. The Wall Street Journal reported that no one was hurt in the earlier blast and it remains unclear if the two explosions are connected.