Police evacuated New York's Times Square on Saturday night after a dark-colored sports utility vehicle was found to be smoking and a small "flash" was observed by firefighters on the scene.
AFP - Police evacuated the heart of the packed Times Square area of New York late Saturday on suspicion that a parked vehicle contained a bomb -- although this was not immediately confirmed.
New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective John Sweeney said the bomb squad was called to inspect a suspicious vehicle that was on fire in the square.
"There seemed to be smoke coming out of the car. Now they're removing stuff out of the car to check what it is," he told AFP.
Sweeney said the bomb squad was examining the suspicious items in the car and that it was too early to say whether they amounted to an explosive device.
"They didn't find a bomb in the car, but they found some other things," he said.
A law enforcement source who asked not to be named said that propane gas tanks might have been in the car, although he noted that the tanks are commonly used by street vendors.
The car was at 45th Street and 7th Avenue and police shut down streets on either side of the incident, blocking an area thronged with tourists and theatergoers in the Broadway district.
A spokesman for the New York Fire Department (NYFD) also said it had not yet been determined whether a bomb was present. "There's possibly an explosive device," he told AFP.
The NYFD spokesman said that initially "firefighers came on scene, responding to a small vehicle fire. They realized something was a little suspicious and called in the NYPD and the bomb squad."
Times Square is one of the city's most high profile attractions and police are deployed there in large numbers.
In December they closed the area while inspecting a van at first feared to contain a bomb, but which turned out to be carrying nothing dangerous.
Date created : 2010-05-02