Police spokesman Don Aaron said about three hours after the explosion shook the area that investigators believe it was “an intentional act.” Police earlier said they believe a vehicle was involved in the explosion.
The explosion linked to a vehicle rocked downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, sending shattered glass and debris over a wide area and rocking nearby buildings.
The Metro Nashville Police Department said via Twitter that the explosion occurred at 6:30 a.m. Friday and that state and federal authorities were on the scene, as were emergency crews including the fire department.
Black smoke and flames were seen early Friday billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene.
Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard.
The Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management told Nashville television station WKRN that a parked recreational vehicle exploded and damaged several buildings. No injuries were immediately reported. The fire department sent out a tweet asking residents and others to avoid the area.
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 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.