Police say possible human remains found near Nashville explosion site
Washington, Dec 25 (efe-epa).- Authorities have found what they believe to be human remains near the site of a Christmas morning blast in the entertainment district of Nashville in the United States, police Chief John Drake said on Friday.
Police have not confirmed human fatalities from the blast in the downtown of the city.
“We have found tissue that we believe could be (human) remains. We will examine it,” said the police chief.
Drake did not specify how close the remains were to the site of the blast, hitting a motor home.
Three people suffered non-critical injuries in what police said was an “intentional” explosion in the capital of the southern state of Tennessee.
The blast damaged dozens of buildings with broken glass and fallen trees in the city of nearly 700,000 people.
Authorities have not yet identified a person responsible. Several people were questioned by police.
“We know of no other imminent danger to the city at this point,” Nashville Metropolitan Police Department (NMPD) spokesman Don Aaron told a press conference at mid-day.
He said the ongoing deployment of bomb-sniffing dogs was simply a precaution.
NMPD officers were already on the scene when the blast occurred at 6:30 am, responding to a call about gunfire.
One officer was knocked off his feet by the shock wave from the explosion, which originated from a Recreational vehicle (RV) parked in front of an AT&T transmission and switching center.
Aaron confirmed an account from a resident that the RV was broadcasting a warning about a bomb set to explode in 15 minutes and he said that police “did their best to get people to safety” ahead of the blast.
The Tennessean reported on its website that police were alerted by Betsy Williams, owner of a building across the street housing a restaurant.
She told the newspaper that restaurant patrons spotted the RV Thursday night.
Awakened around 4:30 am by what sounded like gunshots, Williams called emergency services.
From her residence on the third floor of the building, she then heard a warning coming from the RV: “Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode.”
After several repetitions, the voice began a 15-minute countdown, Williams told The Tennessean.
On a video posted to YouTube that captured the moments before the explosion, a female voice repeats: “This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
Dozens of buildings were damaged, according to Nashville Mayor John Cooper.
“We don’t know if anybody was in the RV when it exploded,” the NMPD’s Aaron said.