A camper van exploded in Nashville in the early hours of the morning on Christmas Day, injuring three people, all of whom have been taken to the hospital but are not in critical condition. Police currently believe the explosion to be the result of a deliberate act.
Officers arrived at the scene of the explosion at 6 am on Friday following calls reporting gunshots. The van then began broadcasting a message saying that it will blow up, then exploded a few minutes later. Although there were no deaths or serious injuries, several buildings and trees were damaged, and smoke from the blast was visible from the city center. Flights out of Nashville were also temporarily halted on account of a telecoms malfunction attributed to the blast.
Police were unable to establish whether anyone was in the vehicle while it exploded near an AT&T building. Officers had evacuated residents of nearby buildings by that point due to the following warning message emanating from the vehicle: “If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
The Nashville PD arrested several individuals in relation to the explosion, taking them for questioning into the precinct, but have not released any names. Investigators have thus far not established a definitive suspect or motive. The FBI is slated to take control of the investigation, with help from agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Nashville resident Buck McCoy detailed his experience of the blast to the Associated Press. “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 said. “It felt like a bomb. It was that big.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper also commented on the blast, urging residents to keep clear of the explosion zone. “It looks like a bomb went off,” he said.