Texas — Another explosion was reported in Austin Tuesday evening, but police said it was “not a bomb, rather an incendiary device,” and is not believed to be related to a spate of package bombings in that city that have killed two people this month.
The Austin Fire Department said on Twitter shortly after 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) that it was on the scene at a “reported package explosion,” and emergency management officials said a man in his 30s was taken to a hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
Austin police later said on Twitter that the “items inside package was not a bomb, rather an incendiary device,” and that “at this time, we have no reason to believe this incident is related to previous package bombs.”
The box that was dropped off at a Goodwill and given to an employee to dispose of “had 2 small devices that were artillery simulators that looks like some type of military ordnance or some type of memento. The employee handled one of those devices at which time it initiated,” Austin police assistant chief Ely Reyes told reporters.
“After our investigation on scene, we did determine that this was not an explosive device. This incident is not related to any of the other incidents that we’ve had here in Austin,” he said.
Austin is on edge after a series of package bombs or other bombs detonated in that city since March 2, the most recent of which occurred on Sunday, when two people were injured by a device believed to have used a tripwire.
The new explosion occurred hours after one package exploded and another containing an explosive device was intercepted by law enforcement at FedEx facilities near that city and near San Antonio, authorities said.
Gerald Davis, president of Goodwill Central Texas, said Tuesday night’s explosion occurred at a Goodwill center. An employee was looking through a bag of donations when he noticed a flash, and suffered minor injuries to his hand, Davis said.
A bystander near Tuesday night’s incident told reporters that he was headed home with his 3-year-old son and wife in their car and “it made our windows shake.”
“I’m shaken up about all this because we’ve been seeing this on the news and it’s bouncing around where it happens,” he said.
Earlier Tuesday evening, law enforcement officials linked the explosion of a package at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio to four previous blasts in Austin this month.
Police, the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that the explosion in the sorting area of a facility in Schertz is connected to the Austin package explosions from March 2 to Sunday, police said on Twitter.
Four bombs have killed two people and injured others in Austin since March 2, with the most recent on Sunday believed to have been triggered by a tripwire that injured two people, authorities have said. In most of those bombings, packages left on doorsteps or in front yards exploded, officials said.
The explosion at the FedEx facility occurred around 12:25 a.m. local time (1:25 a.m. ET), officials said. One person, an employee, was treated at the scene and released, the ATF said.
“We continue to ask the public to be vigilant,” the ATF said in a statement. “Do not approach or interact with a suspicious person or object. We ask that you contact law enforcement and not attempt to intervene on your own.”