This year is determined to bring the dramatic and unexpected until the very last minute. Case in point: a recreational vehicle parked in downtown Nashville erupted in what appeared to be an intentional explosion on Christmas morning, damaging buildings and prompting an investigation by authorities into what or who was behind the incident.
According to AP, police were responding to reports that shots had been fired in the area on Friday when they heard a message being broadcast that a bomb would go off in 15 minutes and started evacuating the area.
Surveillance video posted on a mostly empty Twitter account show that prior to the explosion, the RV was apparently broadcasting the eerie message, “This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.” After that, massive flames explode, whiting out the the screen and setting off alarms in the area.
The explosion sent three people to the hospital and damaged numerous buildings and businesses. The damage to a nearby AT&T site has led to outages in phone service in regions of Tennessee and Kentucky and the downing of several police department’s 911 systems.
“This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this season of peace and hope. But Nashvillians have proven time and time again that the spirit of our city cannot be broken,” Mayor John Cooper said at a press conference on Friday, reports AP.
Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake also revealed that police investigators “found tissue that we believe could be remains,” from the scene of the incident, but will be conducting further examinations to confirm.
The FBI is now heading up the investigation into the explosion, which—if intentional as officials have suggested—could have been an act of domestic terrorism. However, authorities in Nashville said they received no threats of potential holiday attacks before the RV explosion on Christmas.
President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have both been briefed on the incident, reports CNN.
A state of civil emergency has been enacted in the area of the explosion and will run throughout the weekend. Nashville police are also seeking the public’s assistance in providing any information about the RV that exploded.