Authorities say an investigation is under way after the explosion believed to be linked to a vehicle rocks downtown Nashville, US.
An explosion in the United States city of Nashville on Christmas morning may have been an “intentional act”, local police said, as images showed billowing smoke, debris and emergency crews at the site.
The Metro Nashville Police Department said on Friday morning that the explosion occurred about 6:30am local time (12:30 GMT) in the city’s downtown area and was linked to a vehicle.
“This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues,” police tweeted, alongside a photo showing felled tree branches, smoke and debris on a street.
The authorities did not immediately say what the motive of the explosion could be.
Federal and local police are expected to provide updates later on Friday morning.
MNPD, FBI & ATF investigating the 6:30 a.m. explosion on 2nd Ave N linked to a vehicle. This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues. pic.twitter.com/YOfMTaKmTH
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 25, 2020
Fire officials reported taking three people to hospital but none of them was critically hurt.
The area where the explosion occurred is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail stores. It is known as the heart of the tourist scene in downtown Nashville, the capital of the state of Tennessee and the legendary home of country music in the US.
Buildings shook in the area as a loud boom was heard.
Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, said the windows of his home were blown out.
“All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he told The Associated Press news agency.
“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee tweeted, “Federal, state and local law enforcement partners are on the scene to investigate what we believe was an intentional act.”
“We will supply all of the resources needed to determine what happened and who was responsible,” he said.
Early this morning, an explosion occurred in downtown Nashville around Second Avenue and Commerce Street. Federal, state and local law enforcement partners are on the scene to investigate what we believe was an intentional act.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) December 25, 2020
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said officials are waiting for the investigation to unfold.
“It will take a little bit of time to get to the bottom of it,” he told local reporters on Friday morning.
“I do think it was clearly done when nobody was going to be around,” Cooper said, adding that he would wait for investigators’ probe before speculating on why that may be.