NASHVILLE – One day after an RV exploded and rocked downtown Nashville, federal and local investigators focused Saturday on the circumstances leading up to what they call an “intentional act.”
Police also found what they believe are human remains but have not yet confirmed any fatalities. It is still unclear whether the remains were that of anyone involved in the Christmas Day blast. The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation.
“This was a terrible day, but Nashville has faced other challenges, particularly this year,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said late Friday. “We can rebuild and get back to normal. This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this season of peace and hope, but the spirit of our city cannot be broken.”
‘Evacuate now. There is a bomb’:Human remains reportedly found near explosion in Nashville that damaged 41 buildings, injured 3
At least 41 businesses in the area were damaged in the explosion. Three people were hospitalized with injuries, but all are in stable condition as of Friday evening, authorities said.
Betsy Williams, owner of The Melting Pot, a restaurant across the street from the explosion, told The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network, that guests reported the RV was stationed in the area since Thursday night.
She heard a warning in the moments leading up to the explosion: “Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode,” she recalled. Then, she said, the voice started a 15-minute countdown.
At least six Nashville police officers acted quickly to start evacuating people from nearby buildings. They were praised by city officials; Cooper called them “heroes” Friday.
Late Friday, Nashville police released a screenshot of security footage recorded of the RV. Authorities are asking members of the public with information on the vehicle to contact police.
Flights also resumed Friday after being temporarily halted by Nashville International Airport because of telecommunications issues linked to the explosion.
AT&T continued to report outages in parts of Tennessee and Kentucky because of damage in a building with network equipment inside. “Given the damage to our facility it will take time to restore service,” the company said in a statement Friday evening.
Contributing: Associated Press.