After Blast, Nashville Deploys Bomb-Sniffing Dogs, Waits for Word on Motive

Nashville police have deployed bomb-sniffing dogs to sweep the downtown area after an RV exploded in a massive blast on Christmas morning.

The explosion occurred outside of an AT&T building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, around 6:30 a.m. At the time of explosion, police officers were on the scene following reports of a suspicious vehicle.

Before the incident took place, a recorded announcement coming from inside the RV warned that an explosive device was set to denote, authorities said in a press briefing on Friday.

"We're sweeping the downtown area just as a precaution to make sure that everyone is safe," said Nashville Police Chief John Drake during the briefing. "With that said, we don't feel there is any concern in the downtown area of anything else right now, but we are doing it as a precaution."

Our canine teams are doing protective sweeps in the downtown area. Traffic downtown is restricted.

— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 25, 2020

Nashville Mayor John Cooper told local media that roughly 20 buildings near the explosion were damaged by the blast. The impact caused building windows to shatter. So far, three people have been reported injured and there are no known fatalities.

The police reiterated that they do not believe the surrounding area is imminent danger, and they do not yet have a motive for the explosion. Authorities declined to comment on any potential suspects.

In a statement on Twitter, Tennessee Governor BIll Lee said authorities believe the incident was "an intentional act."

When asked if the explosion was meant to target AT&T specifically, Nashville Metro Police Spokesman Don Aaron said: "We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was intentional."

By noon on Friday, AT&T reported a widespread internet outage, with a particular concentration in the Nashville area and Middle Tennessee, The Tennessean reported. Police added that the service outage was disrupting 911 access within Nashville jurisdictions, including on some non-emergency lines.

"Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service," Jim Greer, an AT&T representative, told the outlet.

The ongoing investigation will be led by personnel at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), alongside others at the Metro Nashville Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A White House Spokesperson told Newsweek that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the explosion.

"President Trump has been briefed on the explosion in Nashville, Tennessee, and will continue to receive regular updates. The President is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured," said White House Deputy Assistant Judd Deere.

Nashville Police, Explosion, Tennessee
Authorities direct canine teams to evaluate the area surrounding a significant explosion that took place in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, early Friday morning. Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Facebook