Device Near New Jersey Train Station Explodes While FBI Investigates

The Hollywood Reporter

A suspicious device found in a trash can near a New Jersey train station exploded early Monday as a bomb squad was attempting to disarm it with a robot, officials said.

Elizabeth, N.J. Mayor Christian Bollwage said that the FBI was working to disarm one of five devices found in the same bag, which was discovered in a trash can by two men around 8:30 p.m. Sunday near the Elizabeth train station on the Northeast Corridor rail line. The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package, Bollwage said.

There was no immediate report of injuries or damage. A message left with the FBI wasn't immediately returned. The mayor warned that other explosions were expected.

New Jersey Transit service was suspended early Monday between Newark Liberty Airport and Elizabeth, and New Jersey-bound Amtrak trains were being held at New York Penn Station, officials said. Service was restored later Monday morning, but trains on multiple lines were experiencing delays up to an hour.

NEC, NJCL, Raritan Valley Line and Midtown Direct trains are subject to up to 60 minute delays due to earlier police activity in Elizabeth.

- NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) September 19, 2016

Train passengers reported being stuck on Amtrak and NJ Transit trains for hours Sunday night, while some trains moved in reverse to let passengers off at other stations.

The discovery of the suspicious package comes a day after an explosion in Manhattan injured 29 people, and an unexploded pressure-cooker device was found four blocks away. Also Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded about an hour from the Elizabeth train station in Seaside Park, N.J., forcing the cancellation of a military charity 5K run. Officials said it didn't appear that those two incidents were connected, though they weren't ruling anything out.

Also on Sunday night, the FBI pulled over a car on a highway in Brooklyn and were questioning the vehicle's occupants in connection with the investigation into the bombing, authorities said.

According to NBC News' Miguel Almaguer, Bollwage said Sunday's device "could have hurt" a lot of people if it had gone off.

- Miguel Almaguer (@Miguelnbc) September 19, 2016

Elizabeth, NJ mayor says 5 devices were left in a single backpack. Had "bomb" went of "it would have certainly killed/injured many".

- Miguel Almaguer (@Miguelnbc) September 19, 2016

The two men found the package in a waste basket in Elizabeth, N.J. at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night and took it "because they thought it was of some value" and then notified the police, Bollwage said during a press conference

The two men reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package. The bomb squad was called in and a drone examined the package. "The drone indicated it could be suspicious and it could be a live bomb," Bollwage said.

The FBI and State Police were called to the scene to decide how to remove the device. At around 12:30 a.m., a loud explosion occurred in the area, according to local reporters who took to social media.

Multiple devices in the backpack that was found
Be aware of more detonations to come #Elizabeth NJ- Andy Mai (@MaiAndy) September 19, 2016

Sept. 18, 10:30 p.m. PT: Updated with explosion.

11:20 p.m.: Updated

Sept. 19, 8:57 a.m. Updated with service restored on NJ Transit