A T-shirt vendor is a hero after alerting police to a suspicious vehicle that contained a dangerous device. The Times Square car bomb failed to explode but did detonate in the SUV it was housed. The bomb malfunctioned as it started to detonate, popping and smoking but hurting no one. Firefighters who arrived on the scene first said that they heard a popping sound but it was not quite an explosion.

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The suspicious vehicle contained three propane tanks, fireworks, two 5 gallon gasoline containers that were full, and two clocks with batteries. Evidently the SUV was parked in a prime location to do much damage. The Times Square car bomb was parked in an area with seven theaters for Broadway shows on a Saturday night; the potential for mass casualties was great had the bomb not failed.

NYPD cleared the street for ten hours as they dealt with the homemade device. Governor David Paterson called the incident “an act of terrorism”, which it was. Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the Times Square car bomb as “amateurish.”

It’s not known who is responsible for the bomb and no group has claimed responsibility; that usually only happens in successful bombings. An AP report says that Islamic terrorists often use propane tanks to enhance the force of explosives.

President Obama praised the New York Police department and said that the federal government would lend support if needed. Obama’s counterterrorism advisor John Brennan will keep Mr. Obama in the loop concerning the failed Times Square car bomb attempt.