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Nashville mayor: 'Catastrophic damage' caused by Christmas morning explosion in Downtown Nashville

Credit: WKRN

News reports say emergency crews have responded to an explosion in downtown Nashville

Posted: Dec 25, 2020 8:33 AM
Updated: Dec 26, 2020 7:43 AM

According to our sister affiliate WKRN emergency crews are responding to a large intentional explosion in downtown Nashville Christmas morning. 

UPDATE: 5:46 P.M.

In an update to the public, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the blast on 2nd Avenue caused "catastrophic damage" caused by what he and law enforcement described as an intentional explosion.

He said that 41 businesses had material damage and some houses were destroyed in this historic part of town. He said at his point, they are moved to anger, determination and resolve to rebuild.

"It will be some time before 2nd Avenue gets back to normal," Cooper said.

He added that the three people who were taken to the hospital following the explosion are in stable condition.

Nashville Metro Police Chief John Drake said there were six officers who responded to an initial call of shots fired. At one point he said that a recording started coming from the RV warning people to evacuate and a countdown to detonation began. At various points Chief Drake said that the countdown would stop and music would play and then a countdown would resume. 

Officers worked quickly to knock on doors and get people to safety prior to the explosion around 

He said investigators are still working to determine if the AT&T building was intentionally targeted and if this incident happening on Christmas morning has significant meaning. 

"You would think that this person didn't want to harm people, but to destroy," Chief Drake said.

Fire Chief William Swann said that structural engineers are working to make sure that buildings are sound enough to enter for their investigation. 

UPDATE: 5:06 P.M.

Law enforcement and the Mayor of Nashville will be providing an update on the explosion. Click here to watch the update.

UPDATE 5:00 P.M.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed an executive order that establishes a state of civil emergency within the area bounded by James Robertson Parkway, 4th Avenue North, Broadway and Cumberland River.

"A curfew will start at 4:30 p.m., Friday Dec. 25 and be lifted Sunday, Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m."

UPDATE 4:50 P.M.

Law enforcement expects to provide another update at 5 p.m. CST. Right now, K9 units are conducting a downtown sweep. 

There are not thought to be any secondary explosive devices downtown, but they are checking to make sure. 

Regarding the human remains that were found, they have not been identified and it's unclear whether they will be identifiable.

UPDATE 4:30 P.M.

According to the Associated Press, human remains have been located near the site of the explosion early Friday morning. Law enforcement officials with whom they spoke said it is not clear if they are directly connected to the explosion and if they are, whether they belong to the perpetrator of the explosion of a victim.

Metro Nashville Police along with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating what was described as an intentional blast.

MNPD tweeted out a photo of the RV that exploded and said it arrived on 2nd Avenue around 1:22 a.m. Friday morning. The department asks that anyone who saw the vehicle or has any information about it to call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or report it online at this link.

Update 12:22 P.M.

Nashville officials held a press conference around noon.

Metro Nashville Police says a message was coming from the RV which was warning people that a bomb was about to go off. Police say the explosion happened outside the AT&T building but police say they do not know if that was intentional. Police do not know if there was anyone in the vehicle at the time of the explosion.

An official from the FBI says they are pursuing all leads. There is a tip line for people to call in any leads. The spokesperson said they will find out what happened.

Nashville fire officials say three people were taken to the hospital with non-serious injuries. 

The Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management told Nashville television station WKRN that a parked recreational vehicle exploded and damaged several buildings.

A spokesperson for metro Nashville Police said just before 6 Friday morning, police got a call for shots fired in the area. 

Police say at that point they found a suspicious vehicle and then requested the bomb squad to respond. 

Police say at this time there is no indication that there is a second device in the area. 

Police say no officers have been significantly injured, one officer was knocked to his feet because of the explosion. 

Metro Nashville Police tweeted: "MNPD, FBI & ATF investigating the 6:30 a.m. 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."

This is a developing story and we will keep you updated. 

EOC ACTIVATED DUE TO DOWNTOWN EXPLOSION EOC activated to continue coordinated response to Downtown Nashville Explosion...

Posted by Nashville Office of Emergency Management on Friday, December 25, 2020
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