Updated Dec 25, 2020 - Economy

Voice boomed before Music City explosion

A fire burns in downtown Nashville after an RV exploded on Christmas Day

Photo: Elliott Anderson/The Tennessean via Reuters

Police say a spooky audio recording boomed from an RV parked in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning, just before the vehicle blew up and turned a historic stretch of the bar-lined tourist district into a glass-strewn shambles.

  • Officers, responding to a 5:30 a.m. CT call for shots fired, encountered the RV as the recording played, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at a televised briefing.

The officers began evacuating nearby buildings.

  • "Shortly after that, the RV exploded," Drake said.
  • AP reports that authorities have found human remains near the site of the explosion, citing two law enforcement officials. An officer was knocked to the ground.

The Tennessean reports that witnesses heard a voice from the RV: "Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode." 

  • "Then, the voice started a 15-minute countdown."

Mayor John Cooper described insulation "blown up" into trees, and he estimated about 20 buildings were hit.

  • Authorities said the blast appeared intentional. The FBI took the lead.

Black smoke billowed from the area, which is packed with bars and restaurants, AP reported.

  • Buildings shook after a loud boom was heard.
  • A 33-story AT&T building, the tallest building in Tennessee, was hit. Some service in the region was interrupted, the company tweeted.

This story has been updated with AP's report about the discovery of human remains near the site.

Go deeper