Saturday 26 December 2020
Great damage from explosion
FBI investigates after crime in Nashville
The US city of Nashville is rocked by a violent explosion from a motor home on Christmas Day. At least 41 shops are destroyed. There are many indications of an attack – but above all the time at which the bomb explodes raises questions.
On Christmas morning, urgent warning announcements echoed from a motor home through downtown Nashville, a little later the vehicle explodes and causes massive property damage. Despite a last-minute evacuation, at least three people are slightly injured. The US Federal Police FBI is investigating the incident in Nashville, Tennessee. According to the police, the mobile home was apparently used as a car bomb on Friday, Christmas Day.
The background to the act was still unclear. Pictures from the location of the explosion showed damaged houses, burned out cars and debris on the street. After the detonation several fires could be seen on photos; a rising black column of smoke was visible from afar. Photos also showed broken windows in buildings farther away from the explosion. Mayor John Cooper spoke of “catastrophic damage”. At least 41 stores were damaged, he said. “The attack earlier this morning was aimed at this [weihnachtlichen] Time of peace and hope to spread chaos and fear, “said Cooper.
The police cordoned off the city center to a large extent and used bomb detection dogs to search for explosives. On Friday evening, Cooper imposed a curfew on the affected downtown area. “It looks like a bomb has exploded,” he said on local television. A police spokesman also stated that it was apparently a bomb. The explosion damaged a building belonging to the communications company AT&T, which caused telephone and data connections to fail in some areas in the region. Nashville Airport had to temporarily shut down due to communication problems.
“In between, music also came from the loudspeaker”
Police chief John Drake said officers came to the scene early that morning after reports of alleged gunfire. Then, announcements began, apparently from the mobile home, with which all residents were asked to evacuate because of an impending explosion. A 15-minute countdown began, and music came from the loudspeaker in between. The six officers at the scene called the police bombing unit and went door to door urging residents to get to safety. After the countdown was over, there was an explosion, Drake told journalists. It was initially unclear whether there was anyone in the motor home. The police found human tissue at the scene, which is now being analyzed, said Drake.
Regarding the warnings about the explosion, he said, “I don’t want to speculate, but one would suspect that this person did not want to hurt but destroy.” The time of the explosion also suggested that the act was probably not about meeting as many people as possible: on Christmas Day at around 6.30 a.m., the streets were as good as cleared – but on a working day later, many people stop there on.
Mayor Cooper said he was talking to the governor to declare a disaster in the affected area so that additional resources could be mobilized for reconstruction. He was glad that no more people were harmed. But now it is time for “determination to catch the perpetrators and rebuild our city,” said Cooper.
The incumbent US President, Republican Donald Trump, and President-elect, Democrat Joe Biden, have been notified separately of the explosion, their offices said. Both thanked the rescue workers and wished the injured a speedy recovery. With almost 700,000 inhabitants, Nashville is the capital of the state of Tennessee in the southern United States. Because of its many live music bars and record labels, it is considered the center of country music and is also called “Music City”.