UPDATED 2:00 PM PT – Friday, December 25, 2020
Residents in Nashville are left shaken after a large explosion damaged buildings and left a handful of injuries in the city’s downtown area.
Police officers were called to the area at around 5:30 a.m. due to reports of shots being fired.
On arrival, they discovered a recreational vehicle blaring a message that warned people to evacuate the area so they began to evacuate nearby buildings.
This led authorities to believe it was an intentional act.
“So they began knocking on doors, making announcements, communicating with everyone to get people safe,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Deputy Chief John Drake stated. “Shortly after that, the RV exploded.”
Several people were reportedly injured in the blast. They were taken to local hospitals with non-critical injuries.
The damage to the surrounding buildings, however, appeared significant.
According to reports, the area is considered the heart of Nashville’s tourist area, which is filled with bars, restaurants and shops.
Authorities said structural engineers, search and rescue as well as hazmat crews checked the buildings to make sure they were structurally sound and to ensure there were no other victims.
At the time, it appeared there were no fatalities in the blast. However, police could not confirm the RV was empty when it exploded.
According to recent reports, there may be possible human remains at the explosion site.
A surveillance video from the explosion site reveals that someone was warning local residents of the blast right before it happened.
The warning stated, “If you can hear this message – evacuate now.” According to reports, the warning broadcast went on for 30 minutes before the explosion occurred, which suggests it may have been staged for unclear purposes.
BREAKING: Audio warning was being broadcast before explosion rocked downtown Nashville. Video shows moment of blast. pic.twitter.com/3IvciFH6BV
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 25, 2020
Authorities in Nashville activated the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate a response to Friday morning’s explosion.
According to the White House, President Trump has been briefed and is actively monitoring the situation. He also thanked the first responders for their heroic efforts.
During a press conference, MNPD Spokesperson Don Aaron said investigators believed the incident was intentional and that bomb-detection dogs and equipment were on scene.