A motor home parked on a street exploded in downtown Nashville at dawn on Friday, moments after a recorded message emanating from the vehicle warned of a bomb, in what police called an “intentional act” in the heart of America’s country music capital.
Three people were injured in the Christmas morning blast, though none critically. Authorities said it was uncertain whether anyone was inside the recreational vehicle when it exploded, but police reported hours later that investigators had found possible human remains nearby.
|Motor home explodes in Nashville, possible human remains found near site
Nashville Mayor John Cooper ordered a curfew imposed around the blast site through the holiday weekend as FBI investigators comb the scene, though police said they were aware of no further threats to Tennessee’s most populous city.
Authorities offered no explanation as to a possible motive, and there was no claim of responsibility.
The blast came just moments after officers responded to reports of gunfire in the area and discovered the recreational vehicle parked outside an AT&T building 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, and called for dispatch of the police bomb squad, which was on its way to the scene when the vehicle blew up, police spokesman Don Aaron said.
The Metro Nashville Police Department posted a photo of the recreational vehicle on its Twitter feed and said that the vehicle had arrived in the area at 1:22 a.m.
An area resident, Betsy Williams, told CNN that she was awakened by the sound of gunfire and looked out her window to see an RV parked across the street as it began playing a message delivered by a “computerized” female voice. She said the voice warned the vehicle contained a bomb and started a minute-by-minute countdown to the actual explosion.
“Everything shook, it was quite a blast,” she told CNN.
The fiery blast destroyed a number of other vehicles parked nearby, shattered windows and heavily damaged several adjacent buildings, sending a pall of black smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles. The mayor said a total of 41 businesses were damaged.Reuters