One day after an IED exploded in a busy midtown Manhattan sidewalk, an explosion took place at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, after a suspicious backpack was found. The detonation was "not controlled", the city's mayor said. Meanwhile, the FBI has questioned five people in connection with Saturday’s Manhattan blast. Elizabeth's mayor, Christian Bollwage, said the blast occurred when authorities were trying to "disarm" the backpack, and that the explosion was not controlled.
No one was injured in the blast. The device in Elizabeth, a city south of Newark, had been left in a backpack placed in a trash can near a train station and a bar, Mayor Christian Bollwage told reporters.
"This was an explosive device" containing as many as five devices, Bollwage said. "Based on the loudness, I think people could have been severely hurt or injured if they had been in the vicinity."
WATCH: Explosive device detonates near Elizabeth train station as robot was examining it pic.twitter.com/OQp2xr0aNl— Jessica Remo (@JessicaRemoNJ) September 19, 2016
As many as five potential explosive devices tumbled out of the backpack when it was emptied, Bollwage said. After cordoning off the area, a bomb squad used a robot to cut a wire to try to disable the device, but inadvertently set off an explosion, he said. "I can imagine that if all five of them went off at the same time, that the loss of life could have been enormous if there was an event going on,” Bollwage said.
FBI Bomb Squad is on scene and continuing the investigation at the train station in Midtown Elizabeth. pic.twitter.com/qvmzsgisjC— Chris Bollwage (@MayorBollwage) September 19, 2016
Journalist Andy Mai from the New York Daily News reported that there will be no more detonations, and the remaining four devices will be taken to Middlesex Fire Academy and picked up by the FBI.
There will be no more detonations— Andy Mai (@MaiAndy) September 19, 2016
Remaining four devices will be taken to Middlesex Fire Academy where the FBI will pick them up #Elizabeth
According to Reuters, bomb technicians from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Union County and New Jersey were involved in the operation that resulted in the detonation of the object, one of multiple explosive devices at the site, the FBI confirmed on Twitter.
The bag was discovered in the area of North Broad and Westfield Avenue, CBS local reported, adding that local businesses have been ordered to evacuate.
Bollwage said it was unclear whether Elizabeth, a city with a population of nearly 130,000 people that is less than 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Manhattan, was targeted or if the backpack might have been discarded to elude investigators. Authorities early on Monday were working to remove the other devices found in the backpack, Bollwage said.
Bollwage also told reporters that at around 9:30pm on Sunday two men “noticed a package in the waste basket.” The men then took the package from the bin, thinking “it was of value to them” before they saw “wires and a pipe." They then proceeded to “drop the package” and notified the local police headquarters.
Police then called a bomb squad who sent a drone to examine the package further. Bomb technicians also deployed a robot to the scene. The bomb supposedly went off during the robot's attempt to disarm it. Authorities at the scene were conducting a “secondary search” of waste bins for other possible threats, Bollwage added.
All Amtrak and local trains bound for New Jersey were halted during the investigation. Sometime before 4am Eastern, authorities "rendered the area safe," the FBI's New York bureau tweeted.
Bomb techs from the FBI, Union County, & the New Jersey State Police have arrived on the scene and are now rendering the area safe— FBI Newark (@FBINewark) September 19, 2016
The device found in Elizabeth appears similar to a device that exploded Saturday morning in Seaside Park, NJ, according to senior law enforcement officials cited by NBC.
Meanwhile, sources told the New York Post that five men were reportedly taken in for questioning by the FBI after agents pulled over their car in Brooklyn. Those detained were reportedly heading over the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn. NYPD officers assisted federal agents at the scene, NBC reported.
We did a traffic stop of a vehicle of interest in the investigation. No one has been charged with any crime. The investigation is continuing— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) September 19, 2016
Although the FBI clarified that it conducted a traffic stop, it said that no arrests were made or charges brought about in connection with the explosion that rocked New York on Saturday, stating that earlier media reports were inaccurate.
“We conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle of interest in New York City but no arrests were made and no one has been charged with any crime,” FBI spokeswoman Kelly Langmesser told Reuters.
The surrounding area of New York City remains on high alert after two bombs went off, firstly in New Jersey and later in Manhattan, on Saturday. Earlier on Sunday, NY governor Andrew Cuomo announced the deployment of close to 1,000 state police officers and National Guard servicemen to monitor bus terminals, airports, and subway stations.