Massive bomb explodes in US city of Nashville on Christmas
A huge blast tore through a section of downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday, after a motorhome parked on a street exploded as Christian Americans were celebrating Christmas.
The explosion took place at 6.30 am local time on Friday, moments after a recorded message emanating from the vehicle warned of a bomb, in what police called an “intentional act”.
The explosion shattered windows and ripped apart trees but appeared calculated to spare lives, injuring just three people as it detonated in a section that was largely deserted due to the early hour and the Christmas Day holiday.
The blast left as many as 20 buildings, including storefronts, badly damaged and the road surface charred – scattering glass, tree branches and bricks in an area filled with businesses, restaurants and bars.
Nashville is the capital and largest city of the state of Tennessee. A major center for the US music industry, especially country music, Nashville is commonly known as "Music City".
The blast was large enough to be felt several kilometers away.
"This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues," the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted.
Before the explosion, police responded to calls that gunshots had been fired and noticed the vehicle as they arrived on the scene.
A recorded voice message spoken in a woman's voice playing from the motorhome warned that a bomb would detonate within 15 minutes – enough time for a bomb squad to clear the area before the explosion.
Both outgoing President Donald Trump and incoming President Joe Biden were briefed on the incident, which is being investigated by the FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.