NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Authorities are continuing to investigate in the aftermath of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday morning. Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department are calling the explosion an “intentional act.”
Police said the recreational vehicle broadcast a message from a loudspeaker warning of a blast before it exploded. The blast, which occurred in Nashville, Arts District, destroyed storefronts, and scattered ash and debris through the streets, The Washington Post reported.
Here is a timeline of events. All times are Central Time.
6 a.m.: Nashville police respond to reports of shots fired near Second Avenue and Commerce Street in the downtown area. Police said they saw a suspicious vehicle outside a nearby AT&T transmission building.
6:32 a.m.: An explosion occurred along Second Avenue North, The Tennessean reported. Police said it was linked to a recreational vehicle and appeared to be an “intentional act.”
Betsy Williams, who owns the Melting Pot building on Second Avenue, lives in a third-floor loft apartment near the center of the blast, The Tennessean reported. Williams said she left the area after she heard the recording play a countdown to the explosion.
“Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode,” Williams told the newspaper she heard from the recording.
6:45 a.m.: Emergency crews shut down streets in the downtown area and federal agents were called to the scene. Emergency crews closed off a 10-block radius around the site of the explosion, WSMV reported. Three people are hospitalized for unspecified injuries, according to the Nashville Fire Department. One officer suffered hearing loss as a result of the explosion, WZTV reported.
10:15 a.m. The FBI took over the investigation and had not determined a motive, WTVF reported. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that it was joining the investigation and Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, had been briefed.
“Right now, it’s a public safety concern, to make sure everybody is accounted for and to make sure the spread of the fire doesn’t go any further,” Michael Knight, a spokesman for the ATF in Nashville, told The Associated Press.
10:40 a.m.: Police were going door-to-door with K-9s in the downtown area to search nearby buildings. Authorities said there was no indication of any additional devices.
11 a.m.: WeGo, Nashville’s city bus system, suspended service and closed for precautionary measures, WZTV reported.
12:01 p.m.: AT&T internet and telephone service was disrupted in the Nashville area. An AT&T spokesperson confirmed the outage was linked to the explosion, The Tennessean reported. The outage led to widespread 911 issues in the Nashville area and telecommunications issues at Nashville International Airport, halting outbound flights.
1:15 p.m.: The recreational vehicle that exploded played a recorded message, warning people to evacuate the area before the blast, officials said at a news conference.
“There were announcements coming from the RV, that’s the extent of what we can say at this point,” police spokesperson Don Aaron said.
2:20 p.m.: Investigators released a photo of the recreational vehicle. The Ford camper arrived at the tourist district around 1:22 a.m., officials said.
“Have you seen this vehicle in our area or do you have information about it?” police asked on social media.
4:18 p.m.: Authorities have found human remains in the vicinity of the explosion in downtown Nashville, The Associated Press reported. The identity of the remains has not been released, and it is not immediately clear if the remains were connected to Friday morning’s explosion.
4:50 p.m.: Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued a state of civil emergency in the area impacted by Friday’s explosion. In a tweet, Cooper said the curfew, which began at 5:30 p.m. ET. will be in effect through Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
5:12 p.m.: Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at least 41 separate businesses were impacted by Friday’s explosion downtown.
Speaking at a news conference, Cooper said, “We have gone from relief ... to now anger and determination, and a resolve. And a resolve to build.”