A man sustained a severe foot injury after stepping on what could have been an experimental firework in Central Park on Sunday morning, police said.
Connor Golden, an 18-year-old tourist visiting from Fairfax, Virginia, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center with a severe injury to his left foot, police said. The FDNY said at a press conference Sunday evening that Golden was in surgery. He reportedly lost his foot — or a part of his foot — in the blast, but FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala would not detail Golden’s condition, calling it only a “traumatic injury to his left foot.”
The explosion occurred just after 10:50 a.m. near 60th Street and Fifth Avenue, police said. Golden was with two friends at the time, police said. He jumped off a rock in the park and when he landed, the blast went off, the NYPD said.
There is no evidence the incident was related to terrorism, and there remains no specific, credible threat directed at New York City this July Fourth holiday, Deputy Police Chief John O’Connell said at a Sunday evening news conference.
Lt. Mark Torre, commanding officer of the NYPD bomb squad, said they believe the explosive was an experiment with homemade fireworks, and it could have been placed in the park for longer than a day. He added that nothing has indicated that the explosive was placed with intent to harm.
Torre said the NYPD sees a lot of experimental explosives around this time of year.
Police said Golden and his friends are not suspected in placing the explosive.
Witnesses said the blast could be heard blocks away.
“There was a small explosion, then dust,” said a young man who described himself as a friend of the victim but would not give his name.
Sunday afternoon, about a dozen police vehicles were at the scene and members of the NYPD bomb squad and the FDNY were investigating.
A portion of the park several blocks long was cordoned off to the public with yellow tape near the tourist-heavy intersection.
The area was searched by trained dogs and deemed safe, O’Connell said. Investigators will continue canvassing and collecting video and witness evidence, he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet Sunday night the blast was likely homemade fireworks and not caused by a device.
“Central Park, both statistically and by reputation, is one of the safest patches of land in any big city in America,” he tweeted.