Explosion in Nashville on Christmas morning intentional, say cops as houses, roads across blocks lay damaged
Three people were transported to hospitals from the scene, but none were in critical condition
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: On Christmas morning, an explosion rocked downtown Nashville, injuring at least three people and damaging dozens of buildings. Authorities said they believed the explosion was an “intentional” act.
The explosion “linked to a vehicle” occurred at 6.30 am outside 166 2nd Avenue North in downtown Nashville, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. Police said that they did not know whether a person was inside the vehicle, an RV, when the explosion took place. The Metro PD officers were responding to a call of shots fired on Friday, December 25, morning when they came upon the RV parked in front of an AT&T building. While cops saw no immediate evidence of shots fired, they requested the department's hazardous devices unit. The bomb squad was responding to the downtown area when the vehicle exploded.
"We do believe this to have been an intentional act," police spokesman Don Aaron said. "Significant damage has been done to the infrastructure there on 2nd Avenue North." Three people were transported to hospitals from the scene, but none were in critical condition, according to Nashville Fire spokesman Joseph Pleasant. As per the New York Times, the FBI was investigating the matter and working with local authorities. “Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen was briefed on the incident early this morning and directed that all DOJ resources be made available to assist in the investigation,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement.
The White House said that President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident as well and would receive "regular updates." Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary, said, “The president is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured.”
Here’s what we know about the incident so far
The damage: The blast reportedly shattered windows and damaged buildings for several blocks, littering the street with bricks and debris. The explosion also charred several cars and toppled trees. Eyewitness Buck McCoy told CNN the explosion took place right in front of his home, causing his windows to be blown in. "Everything on the street was on fire," he said. "There were three cars that were fully engulfed." At least three people have been transported to hospitals with injuries. The two taken to TriStar Centennial Medical Center were non-critical, according to a spokesperson.
The Nashville Fire Department tweeted a video of what the street looked like in the aftermath of the explosion, writing, “Footage from the scene on 2nd Ave North as multiple agencies continue to work and investigate an explosion from earlier this morning.”
Footage from the scene on 2nd Ave North as multiple agencies continue to work and investigate an explosion from earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/5g40RhwNNl— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) December 25, 2020
The perpetrator: Police do not know if anyone was inside the RV, but investigators believe the explosion was intentional. As per news reports, the FBI, which is leading the investigation, does not yet believe there are other threats.
A Nashville NBC affiliate reported that K-9 units are searching the area for a possible second explosive device, though police have said that there is no indication at this time of a second device. Nashville Mayor John Cooper told CNN the explosion was "clearly done when no one was going to be around." He added, "Fortunately not many people are here.”