BREAKING: Injuries reported after explosion rocks Manhattan; suspected IED

by Staff, |
New York City firefighters stand near the site of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York September 17, 2016 | REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi

NEW YORK (Reuters/CE) - At least 25 people were injured when a loud explosion shook the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night, according to various news reports.

The blast occured about 8:30 p.m. on a major east-west thoroughfare in the fashionable downtown neighborhood, prompting New York City police and fire department personnel to swarm the area, a Reuters witness said.

At least three people were seen initially being taken away from the apparent scene of the blast in ambulances, according to Reuters, but the severity of their injuries was not immediately clear. Later reports indicated 25 were injured. A car seen driving through the area had its rear window blown out.

Police and fire representatives said the preliminary cause of the explosion is an IED in or near a dumpster, according to CNN.

New York City Police issued a bulletin advising motorists in the area that they should "expect extensive traffic delays and emergency personnel in the area of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue" due to police activity there and asking the public to avoid the area.

Hundreds of people were seen fleeing down the block on a cool early autumn evening, as police cordoned off the area.

Earlier today a pipe bomb was discovered in New Jersey, according to news reports.

(Reporting by Simon Webb; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Mary Milliken and Paul Simao. Additional reporting by Christian Examiner)