A developing story has begun following the Christmas morning explosion of a recreational vehicle in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning. Just prior to the detonation, a loudspeaker broadcast a warning that the area must be evacuated now. The explosion soon followed.
The Washington Post reported that a voice could be heard saying, “This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now,” according to a video posted on social media.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake said officers were responding to an emergency call of gun shots in the downtown area around 5:30 a.m. and found an RV with the recording playing.
Officers evaluated nearby buildings in Tennessee’s capital upon hearing the recording, and shortly after the RV exploded, Drake said at a press briefing.
The fire department chief said three individuals with minor injuries were taken to hospitals.
The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating the incident, which officials said they believe was an intentional act.
Both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have been briefed on the explosion.
Authorities are sweeping the downtown area as precaution, but Drake said officials don’t feel there are any additional threats.
Photos of the area shared by the Nashville Fire Department showed smoke and flames in the downtown area, and windows broken out in nearby buildings.
The Washington Post added:
Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters that “there were announcements coming from the RV, that’s the extent of what we can say at this point.” He said that police took the warning seriously, evacuated people from a residential area, and that “we think lives were saved by those officers.”
Three people were injured, including one officer who was knocked off his feet, Aaron said. He said “we know of no other imminent danger to the city,” adding that bomb-sniffing dogs were combing the area as a precaution.
Several of the buildings have structural damage, officials said. Police do not know whether anyone was in the RV when it exploded, “so I can’t tell you at this point whether there is a fatality in this scenario,” Aaron said.
Business Insider also reports that due to the area that the vehicle exploded in, many AT&T customers have been impacted because the AT&T transmission building was directly in front of the explosion.
The car exploded in front of an AT&T transmission building in Nashville, according to a press release from the FBI and local authorities. AT&T users are now experiencing phone and internet outages in some areas near Nashville. DownDetector shows that Nashville, Atlanta, and Chattanooga are among the areas with the most outage reports.
“Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service,” Jim Greer, AVP for AT&T corporate communications, wrote in a statement to Insider.
Those outages are hitting some 911 emergency lines. In Tennessee, the Murfreesboro police department tweeted that “Murfreesboro’s 911 lines, and non-emergency lines, are currently down.”
Murfreesboro's 911 lines, and non-emergency lines, are currently down. AT&T is experiencing an outage. Please call 629-201-5056 until further notice. pic.twitter.com/w5yubSQaR4
— Murfreesboro TN Police Department (@MboroPoliceDept) December 25, 2020
The department's 911 and Non-Emergency Lines are down, which is likely related to a widespread outage on 12/25/2020 caused by the Downtown Nashville explosion. Temporarily, those in Mt. Juliet, can call 615-406-5849 for police & fire assistance if you cannot get through on 911. pic.twitter.com/xWtWcoasjE
— Mt. Juliet Police (@MtJulietPolice) December 25, 2020
Our 911 system and non-emergency number is down due to an AT&T outage. If emergency response is needed please call these numbers:
— La Vergne, TN Police Department (@LaVergneTNPD) December 25, 2020
If you are looking to see if your service was impacted by the blast, check out The Tennessean’s list.
Become an insider!
Sign up to get breaking alerts from Sons of Liberty Media.