‘Rebuild and come back stronger’: Explosion creates chaotic Christmas Day in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The calm after the storm.

“Please give the people of Nashville, just give them guidance and strength.”

A group of tourists stopped to pray for Music City on Friday afternoon after an explosion downtown left 41 buildings damaged, three people hospitalized, and dozens more displaced.

“We woke up to the news… we were absolutely shocked and confused, we didn’t really understand what was going on and then within an hour all of our service was out and we realized all we had was each other,” a tourist told News 2.

Metro Police officers initially responded to a “shots fired” call near Commerce Street and 2nd Avenue. They found an RV playing music and broadcasting an eerie warning that a bomb was about to be detonated.

Then, an explosion.

That explosion also knocked out AT&T phone service for thousands across Middle Tennessee, including access to call 911.

Mayor Cooper addressed the city calling it a “deliberate, planned attack.” He thanked all of the first responders, especially 6 Metro Police officers that helped evacuate downtown residents just before the bomb went off.

“This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this season of peace and hope,” said Mayor John Cooper in a news conference on Friday afternoon.

“These officers didn’t care about themselves,” said Metro Police Chief John Drake, “They didn’t think about, they cared about the citizens of Nashville. They went in, and we’d be talking not about the debris that we have here, but also maybe potential people. With that being said, the officers saved lives today.”

In a year filled with hardship and tragedy, Mayor Cooper says Nashville is resilient, and will come back from this, too.

“We got through the tornado, we got through derecho, we’re getting through COVID, we will get through this. We’re going to assemble the resources to rebuild and come back stronger,” said Mayor Cooper.

It’s going to take a lot of time before 2nd Avenue is back to normal. Mayor Cooper has consulted with Governor Bill Lee and FEMA to declare a civil state of emergency which will bring resources here to help rebuild.

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