Bomb truck: How the NYPD safely moves suspicious devices

An NYPD bomb disposal truck backs into the Time Warner Center on West 58th Street before a device is removed from the building's mail room on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.
An NYPD bomb disposal truck backs into the Time Warner Center on West 58th Street before a device is removed from the building’s mail room on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Photo Credit: New York Transit Museum

The NYPD’s Bomb Squad is specifically trained for a job that New Yorkers hope is never needed, but this week the unit has been called in three times to handle explosive devices discovered at three Manhattan locations.

In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday, Bomb Squad commanding officer Lt. Mark Torre explained how the team uses its Total Containment Vessel (TCV), commonly called the “bomb truck,” to neutralize and transport suspected explosive devices.

“The members of the NYPD’s Bomb Squad are proven experts at investigating suspicious packages. In the last 24 hours, they’ve worked especially hard keeping everyone in NYC safe,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Terence Monahan tweeted along with the video. “My thanks to them and all of NY’s Finest for what they do every day.”

The TCV has become an important tool for the Bomb Squad when it’s called in to investigate a potential improvised explosive device (IED), Torres said, because it allows the team to move the package to a safe location without endangering the public while en route.

“If a bomb were to explode inside there, the pressure would bleed off through a series of small vents but all of the fragmentation that would be associated with it, and of course the blast pressure shock wave, is contained — hence the name Total Containment Vessel,” Torre explained in the video. “Nobody is going to get hurt and no property is going to get damaged. It’s money well invested.”

The NYPD has had to use a TCV three times in as many days, after IEDs were discovered at a mail facility in Hell’s Kitchen on Friday, a TriBeCa restaurant owned by Robert De Niro on Thursday morning and at CNN’s offices inside the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle on Wednesday. The bombs were transported to an NYPD facility in the Bronx without going off and no injuries were reported, officials said.

The incidents are being investigated by the FBI along with 11 other package IEDs that were sent this week to prominent figures in the Democratic Party as well as critics of President Donald Trump. The FBI arrested Cesar Altieri Sayoc on Friday in connection with the case, but warned more bombs could be discovered.