A parked motor home exploded in downtown Nashville at dawn on Friday (December 25) morning minutes after a recorded announcement emanating from the vehicle warned of a bomb, in what police said was an “intentional act” that injured at least three people, as police also noted that possible human remains were found near the site of the blast..
Police said it was uncertain whether anyone was inside the recreational vehicle when it exploded on Christmas morning.
The blast, which rocked the heart of America’s country music capital, came just moments after officers responded to reports of gunfire in the area and discovered the recreational vehicle parked outside an AT&T office tower in downtown Nashville at about 6 a.m. CST (1200 GMT).
Police heard a recorded voice warning that a “bomb would detonate in 15 minutes,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters.
The message, as captured in a recording broadcast later by local television news stations, said: “This area must be evacuated now. This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
Officers quickly went door-to-door in nearby buildings to hustle people to safety, Drake said.
Fire officials said three people were taken to local hospitals with relatively minor injuries, and they were listed in stable condition. Authorities said quick action by police to begin evacuating the area before the blast likely prevented more casualties.
At an early evening briefing, Drake, the police chief, told reporters, “We have found tissue that we believe could be human remains,” but he said the origin of the tissue remained unclear.
Authorities had received no threats beforehand, Drake said, describing the blast as a “total surprise.”
“We had no pre-warnings at all,” he said.
The blast occurred about two blocks from Lower Broadway where Nashville’s famous live music venues are located and most tourists flock.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)