Aerial photos taken above Nashville on Christmas morning revealed the devastating aftermath of a powerful explosion that rocked Music City’s downtown area just before dawn, sending three people to the hospital and causing widespread damage.
Local police have confirmed that the blast, which they described as an ‘intentional act,’ came from a vehicle that was parked on Second Avenue, between Church Street and Commerce Street, which is normally a bustling area filled with bars, restaurants and shops.
Three people suffered injuries as a result of the explosion and were taken to the hospital for treatment. No fatalities were reported.
Images taken by NewsChannel 5’s news chopper offer a bird’s eye view of the catastrophic damage that was caused by the blast.
Aerial photos taken above Nashville on Christmas morning revealed the devastating aftermath of a powerful car explosion
Piles of soot-blackened debris are shown filling Second Avenue, between Church Street and Commerce Street, on Friday morning
The devastation seen in downtown Nashville was the result of what police described as an ‘intentional act’ involving the detonation of a car in the pre-dawn hours
This man shows the location of the explosion along Second Avenue in downtown Nashville early Friday morning
The photos show piles of soot-blackened debris filling the street. A closer look reveals a white vehicle standing near the purported epicenter of the explosion, surrounded on all sides by broken beams from nearby buildings.
A wider shot of the scene from above shows black soot coating the roadway for at least two blocks along Second Avenue.
The blast is said to have damaged dozens of buildings, sending glass and debris raining down onto the street.
Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background and cries of people in great distress ring in the background. A fire is visible in the street outside.
McCoy says he heard gunfire 15 minutes before the explosion rocked his building. McCoy said the windows of his home were entirely 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 said.
‘It felt like a bomb. It was that big,’ he told The Associated Press.
‘There were about four cars on fire. I don´t know if it was so hot they just caught on fire, and the trees were all blown apart,’ he said.
The powerful blast damaged dozens of buildings in the commercial district, sending shards of glass raining down onto the street and filling the roadway and sidewalk with debris
The explosion was felt nine blocks away, launching black smoke in the sky that could be seen for miles
Black soot is seen coating at least two blocks of Second Avenue as a result of the fire that was sparked by the car explosion
While the blast caused severe property damage, no one was killed; three people were taken to hospitals with injuries
Nashville police and the FBI are investigating the explosion, which took place just before dawn on Christmas morning as cops were responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle
A vehicle is on fire after the powerful car explosion in the area of Second and Commerce in Nashville
In this photo from the Twitter page of the Nashville Fire Department, devastating damage is seen on Second Avenue
A motive for the explosion was not disclosed by police.
The explosion was felt nine blocks away, launching black smoke in the sky that could be seen for miles.
Andrew McCabe, a former deputy FBI director, told CNN that an explosion of this size would be investigated as a possible act of terrorism. He said it was possible police were the target of the explosions given they were answering a report of a suspicious vehicle when it blew up.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper urged people to stay away from the downtown area, as police and federal authorities launched their investigation.
Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said police responded to a call of shots fired just before 6 a.m. but found no immediate signs of a shooting, although officers noticed a suspicious vehicle and called for a hazardous unit. While they waited, the vehicle exploded.
Aaron said three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, although none were in critical condition. He said some people were taken to the department´s central precinct for questioning but declined to give more details.
A law enforcement member walks past damage from the explosion in downtown Nashville Friday. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard early Christmas morning
Broken window glass is scattered near the scene of the ‘intentional’ blast in downtown Nashville
Dozens of building lining Second Avenue were severely damaged by the blast that tore through the downtown before dawn on Friday morning
The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, said spokesman Joel Siskovic. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene. The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes, such as explosives violations and acts of terrorism.
President Donald Trump has been briefed, according to White House spokesperson Judd Deere, who said that Trump, who is spending the holidays in Florida, will continue to receive regular updates. The U.S. Justice Department said Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen was also briefed and directed all department resources be made available to help with the investigation.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said on Twitter that the state would provide the resources necessary ‘to determine what happened and who was responsible. Please join @MariaLeeTN and me in praying for those who were injured and we thank all of our first responders who acted so quickly this morning.’
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the city was lucky that the number of injuries was limited.