Explosion Rocks Downtown Nashville on Christmas Morning, Police Believe It Was ‘Intentional Act’
Police are investigating an explosion that rocked downtown Nashville Christmas morning in what officials believe was an "intentional act."
Around 6 a.m. on Friday, officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department responded to reports of a suspicious vehicle outside of the AT&T building, police spokesperson Don Aaron said in a news conference, according to The Washington Post.
Shortly after, at 6:30 a.m., the vehicle exploded, sending thick black smoke through the air and blowing out the windows of nearby buildings.
According to ABC News, the explosion knocked one officer to the ground, caused hearing loss in another and caused three people to be hospitalized with minor injuries.
"We do believe this to have been an intentional act," Aaron said at the press conference. "Significant damage has been done to the infrastructure there on 2nd Avenue North."
According to The Tennessean, the explosion could be heard from miles away and there were reports of windows shaking from South and East Nashville.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he estimated 20 buildings had been impacted by the blast and noted that the downtown area would be "sealed off" for further investigation.
The FBI is leading an investigation on the explosion with help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Nashville police wrote on Twitter.
Nashville police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Buck McCoy, a nearby resident, told the Associated Press that the explosion "felt like a bomb."
"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. "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."
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee responded to the explosion on Twitter, writing that the state would "supply all of the resources needed to determine what happened and who was responsible."
He said that he would be "praying for those who were injured" and expressed his appreciation for the first responders "who acted so quickly this morning."
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