An explosion rocked the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan and caused multiple injuries on Saturday evening, 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.
FDNY officials confirmed that 29 civilians were injured, but say none of the injuries appear to be life-threatening.
The explosion, described by one neighbor as “deafening,” happened outside the Associated Blind Housing facility at 135 W. 23rd Street. The facility provides housing, training and other services for the blind.
Hundreds of people were seen fleeing down the block on a cool early autumn evening, as police cordoned off the area.
On Twitter, user @said she was ‘terrified’ moments after the blast rang out.
“It was really loud, it hurt my eardrums. My 10-year-old boy was sat in the back seat of the car, and the explosion blew the back window out,” said Tsi Tsi Mallett, who was in a car driving along 23rd Street when the explosion took place. Her son was not injured.
Neha Jain, 24, who lives in the neighborhood, said she was sitting in her room watching a movie when she suddenly heard a huge boom and everything shook.
“Pictures on my wall fell, the window curtain came flying as if there was a big gush of wind. Then we could smell smoke. Went downstairs to see what happened and firemen immediately told us to go back.”
Twitter user @elisabetherapty said it was “one loud long boom,” and she’d “never heard anything like it.”
“We felt it, we heard it, the restaurant went real quiet,” Chris Gonzalez, who was visited from Dallas, told the Associated Press. “It wasn’t like jolting or anything, everyone just went quiet.”
*with files from Rebecca Joseph