A large explosion that shattered windows and sent a column of smoke rising above downtown Nashville early Christmas morning appears to have been an “intentional act”, according to local police, and linked to a parked RV.
Three people were taken to hospital, with non-critical injuries, police said. Images taken in the area showed flames and smoke, and what appeared to be the charred remains of a recreational vehicle.
Nashville police said it responded to an area near Second Avenue and Commerce Street in the city about 6.45am on Friday. “MNPD [Metropolitan Nashville police department], FBI & ATF investigating the 6:30am explosion on 2nd Ave N linked to a vehicle. This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues,” alerted Nashville’s metro police department.
According to reports in the Tennessean, the blast was felt for miles and triggered a response from a police bomb squad as well as firefighters and other state and federal law enforcement officials.
Police later said the incident was linked to a vehicle parked outside a fondue restaurant, the Melting Pot, and investigators said an RV was involved.
The owner of the nearby Nashville Downtown hostel told the paper guests were evacuated to Nissan Stadium for shelter. He said he got a call early on Friday from his staff reporting hearing a “loud boom” and the fire alarm going off.
The Metro Nashville office of emergency management told the Nashville television station WKRN that a parked recreational vehicle exploded and damaged several buildings. The fire department sent out a tweet asking residents and others to avoid the area.
Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background and cries of people in great distress ring in the background. A fire is visible in the street outside.
McCoy said the windows of his home were entirely blown out. “All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said.
“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he told the Associated Press. “There were about four cars on fire. I don’t know if it was so hot they just caught on fire, and the trees were all blown apart,” McCoy added.