A vehicle parked in an empty street of downtown Nashville of United States’ Tennessee state exploded on Friday morning. No deaths were reported but the explosion caused communications outages, including the police emergency systems, and affected holiday travel at the city’s airport, reported AP.
The local police was responding to a report of shots being fired in the locality when they encountered the vehicle blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake told AP. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad, and the explosion took place soon after.
Videos posted by Twitter users captured the warning issuing from the vehicle which said, “...if you can hear this message, evacuate now,” seconds before the explosion.
“This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this season of peace and hope,” Mayor John Cooper said at a news conference after issuing a curfew order in the area. “But Nashvillians have proven time and time again that the spirit of our city cannot be broken.”
Nashville Police spokesperson Don Aaron called the explosion a significant one and said that they believe that it was an intentional act, reported Reuters. The explosion, which could be felt nine blocks away, knocked one officer off his feet and caused what was hoped to be only a temporary hearing loss, he said. Three people were injured, and residents told Reuters about a number of other vehicles catching fire.