Police said in an earlier briefing the RV had broadcast a warning message, advising people within earshot to clear the area, about 15 minutes before the bomb blast.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Saturday that he had asked President Donald Trump for emergency relief statewide in the aftermath of Friday’s bomb blast.
“I request that you declare an emergency disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee as a result of the intentional explosion in Nashville, Davidson County,” Lee wrote in a letter to the president Friday that he posted to Twitter on Saturday.
“The blast impacted AT&T communication systems across the State of Tennessee with additional impacts across Kentucky and Alabama,” he wrote. “This impact included residential phones, cell service, and over 20 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP/911 Call Centers). The failure of systems also impacted Nashville International Airport (BNA) and grounded inbound and outbound flights for a portion of the day.”
Lee added that preliminary reports show that the blast damaged 41 businesses, including historic buildings and others which need to be assessed for structural integrity and safety.
Local and federal authorities said they believed the explosion of an RV in downtown Nashville on Friday was an intentional act. Three people were taken to the hospital with minor injures, and though no fatalities were reported, Police Chief John Drake told reporters he found tissue they believe could be human remains that have been sent to medical examiner’s office for assessment.
“This morning I toured the site of the bombing,” Lee said in the tweet Saturday. “The damage is shocking and it is a miracle that no residents were killed,” he continued, adding that him and his wife “continue to pray for those who sustained injuries from the blast.”
“President Trump has been briefed on the explosion in Nashville, Tennessee, and will continue to receive regular updates,” a White House statement Friday said. “The president is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured.”
President-Elect Joe Biden, also briefed on the explosion, also thanked first responders and wished the injured “a speedy recovery.”
On Saturday, AT&T outages from the blast persisted, angering customers.
More than 1,000 people in Nashville were without power early Saturday morning, according to downdetector.com, dropping to 256 people by mid-afternoon.
“Our teams continue to work around the clock on recovery efforts from yesterday morning’s explosion in Nashville,” AT&T said in a statement Saturday morning. “At our facility, the focus of the restoration continues to be getting power to the equipment in a safe and secure way. Challenges remain, including a fire which reignited overnight and led to the evacuation of the building.”
Widespread police departments reported disrupted 911 operations in their jurisdictions. Rutherford County reported 911 came back online, but problems remained with getting callers names and locations.
Multiple agencies set up alternative lines for people needing to call police News4 Nashville reported.
“Currently, our teams are on site working with safety and structural engineers,” AT&T added in its statement Saturday. “They have drilled access holes into the building and are attempting to reconnect power to critical equipment. Technical teams are also working as quickly as possible on rerouting additional services to other facilities in the region to restore service.”
“We continue to be grateful for the work of first responders as they respond to this event and help protect our team working to restore service for our customers,” AT&T’s statement continued, adding that it would provide updates as the work progresses.