A vehicle exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning in what police described as an “intentional act”, and firefighters reported taking three people to hospital but none of them critically injured.
“The explosion was significant, as you can see … the police department, its federal partners – the FBI and the ATF – are conducting a large-scale investigation into this point,” said Don Aaron, a Nashville police spokesman. “We believe the explosion was a deliberate act. “
A motive for the explosion was not revealed by the police.
The explosion was felt nine blocks away, destroying several other vehicles and damaging several buildings, releasing black smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles.
Andrew McCabe, a former FBI director, told CNN that an explosion of this magnitude would be investigated as a possible terrorist act. He said it was possible that police were the target of the explosions given that they were responding to a report of a suspected vehicle when it exploded.
Authorities were on their way to the scene after 6 a.m. before the explosion occurred in a recreational vehicle parked near a bank building in the heart of Nashville, the capital of both the state of Tennessee and American country music.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper urged people to stay away from downtown when police and federal authorities began their investigation.
“There were trees everywhere, glass everywhere,” Buck McCoy, a resident of Nashville, told CNN.
In an interview with CNN, McCabe said it was unclear whether the time on Christmas Day was calculated in the explosion. He said investigators would investigate whether any buildings in the area were a target.