Early Monday morning, a device found near the Elizabeth, New Jersey Amtrak train station blew up while a robot was trying disable it.
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.
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.
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
“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.
“In the course of rendering one of the devices safe, it detonated. There are no injuries & law enforcement personnel are at the scene processing evidence,” according to a tweet from FBI Newark account.
The device was detonated in a controlled setting, Bollwage said. The sound of the explosion reverberated loudly as heard on video filmed by local media.
“The robots that went in to disarm it, cut a wire and it exploded. I know there are other devices, I don’t know what they’re made up of but they’re going to have to be removed,” Bollwage said.
Authorities are not certain if the bomb was placed at the New Jersey location or if it was discarded to elude investigators. Law enforcement are working to disable the other devices found in the backpack.
The New Jersey backpack was found by two men who were looking through the garbage. They reported the backpack to police when they “saw wires and pipes” coming from the pack.
Train service has been suspended in the immediate area. Amtrak released a statement:
“Our customers are safe and trains have been brought into stations to allow passengers to disembark and seek alternate transportation. Amtrak apologizes for the inconvenience and will resume service as soon as it is safe to do so. No Amtrak trains are operating on the Northeast Corridor between New York and Trenton, NJ for the time.”