News and Commentary

Huge ‘Intentional’ Explosion Rocks Downtown Nashville, Buildings’ Windows Shattered
Nina Dietzel/Getty Images

Just after 6:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, a vehicle in downtown Nashville exploded in a blast so powerful that windows in nearby buildings were shattered. According to Nashville’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the explosion resulted from an “intentional bombing incident” outside of 166 Second Avenue North.

The Metro Government of Nashville website reported: “MNPD, FBI, and ATF are investigating today’s intentional 6:30 a.m. explosion of an RV outside 166 2nd Avenue North downtown.  Vehicle and pedestrian traffic downtown is restricted as the investigation continues. Officers responded to shots fired call on 2nd Avenue at approximately 5:30 a.m.  The department’s Hazardous Devices Unit was called to check the RV.  As those officers were en route, the vehicle exploded outside an A-T-&-T transmission building.  Multiple buildings on 2nd Avenue were damaged, some extensively.”

WSMV reported, “Emergency crews have closed a 10-block radius around the site of the explosion. A Metro Police bomb disposal unit was called [to] the scene. … Smoke was visible on the Nashville skyline early Friday morning as people in the surrounding areas as far as College Grove and Mt. Juliet reported feeling a large shaking.”

Three people were transported to a hospital; none were in critical condition, according to fire officials. “One officer in the area was knocked down and experienced hearing loss,” FOX17 reported.

“Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said police responded to a call of shots fired just before 6 a.m. but found no immediate signs of a shooting, although officers noticed a suspicious vehicle and called for a hazardous unit. While they waited, the vehicle exploded,” AP reported.

The Tennessean added, “Just before the blast, officers were conducting door-to-door checks in the area and redirected a man walking his dog along the street. The force of the explosion knocked an officer to the ground. … The owner of the Melting Pot across the street told The Tennessean that guests reported the RV was stationed there since Thursday night. Several people were taken to the department’s central precinct for questioning but authorities declined to give more details Friday morning.”

The area where the explosion occurred is near Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway. The Tennessean noted, “Alarms inside several buildings were heard going off with water pouring into some buildings with structural damage and broken windows. Trees lining Second Avenue were blackened from the incident.”

“The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, said spokesman Joel Siskovic. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene,” SILive reported.

Nashville mayor John Cooper noted, “We’re a famous place. Again, we’ll know more at the end of the investigation. Why 2ndAvenue? All that, in time, I’m sure the investigation will show. People know where we are, and if people want attention and publicity sometimes they think they can come here to get it; it’s not just New York and Los Angeles. . . . I do think it was clearly done when nobody was going to be around.”