NEW YORK —
A loud explosion shook the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night, injuring at least 25 people, according to New York City fire and police.
Bus and subway transportation near the scene of the blast was halted, and witnesses reported seeing large numbers of people fleeing from the scene. Broadcasters urged motorists to avoid the area near West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
Scores of firefighters and police converged on West 23rd Street. They did not release details about the source of the explosion, which several media reports traced to a large trash container outside a large apartment building in the fashionable Chelsea neighborhood.
None of the wounded people taken away by ambulances had life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
A VOA reporter who was nearby and heard the initial explosion described it as a single blast, much louder than a gunshot. Witnesses said windows in the immediate vicinity of the explosion were blown out by the impact.
For more than an hour after the explosion jolted the neighborhood, police and fire department units streamed into the neighborhood.
Police searched cars parked near the mangled trash receptacle, and helicopters flown by officers floated above the area, hunting for clues to what happened.
Two major traffic routes near the scene — Sixth Avenue (also known as Avenue of the Americas) and Seventh Avenue — were blocked off by police.