By Harrison Arubu/New York with Reuters
The police in Nashville, Tennessee, United States have released the photo of the vehicle that exploded Downtown Friday morning, causing huge damage around.
In an announcement on Twitter, the Metro Nashville Police Department called for help to identify the yellow recreational vehicle(RV).
“This is the RV that exploded on 2nd Ave N this morning. It arrived on 2nd Ave at 1:22 a.m.
“Have you seen this vehicle in our area or do you have information about it? Please contact us via Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or online via http://fbi.gov/nashville. @ATFHQ”, the statement read.
The FBI is leading the investigation of the massive explosion.
The explosion originated from a parked recreational vehicle in the city centre and was felt several blocks away.
It came after a chilling warning blared from the vehicle, telling people about the urgency of evacuation.
“This area must be evacuated now. This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now,” the recorded message said.
Official pictures from the incident show damaged vehicles and several buildings, with smoke billowing into the sky from the scene.
Fire officials in the city reported taking three people to hospital with minor injuries. No significant injuries or death have been reported as of the time of filing this report.
Spokesman of the Nashville metro police department, Don Aaron, described the explosion as significant, saying an “intentional act” was suspected.
“The explosion was significant, as you can see. The police department, its federal partners, the FBI and ATF, are conducting a large-scale investigation to this point.
“We do believe that the explosion was an intentional act,” Aaron told newsmen.
President Donald Trump and acting Attorney-General Jeff Rosen have reportedly been briefed on the incident.
The FBI is now the lead investigative agency. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding, reports said.
The blast ravaged the heart of the city, considered the capital of U.S. country music. It destroyed several other vehicles and severely damaged several buildings, launching black smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles.
Moments before the blast, police officers went door-to-door in nearby buildings to hustle residents to safety and motioned a man walking his dog near the vehicle to change direction.
“Obviously, they heard the announcements coming from this vehicle,” Aaron told reporters. “They took them seriously. And worked to seal the streets to protect folks and we think it worked.” He called the blast “an intentional act.”
Andrew McCabe, a former deputy FBI director, told CNN an explosion of this size would be investigated as a possible act of terrorism, whether domestic or international.
Police said it was unclear if anyone was inside the vehicle and the motive was unclear. McCabe said police may have been the target of the explosions given they were called to the scene before the blast.
Most of the buildings on the tree-lined street with shops and offices were closed given the hour and Christmas holiday.
The explosion, which could be heard for miles and felt nine blocks away, knocked one officer off his feet and caused what was hoped to be only a temporary hearing loss, the police spokesman said.
“There was trees lying everywhere, glass laying everywhere,” Nashville resident Buck McCoy told CNN.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper urged people to stay away from the downtown area, as police and federal authorities investigated, aided by bomb dogs and surveillance camera footage.
President Donald Trump was briefed on the explosion, a White House spokesman said.
Car bombings in the United States are rare.
A 1995 truck bombing in Oklahoma City killed 168 people including 19 children, and wounded hundreds. Timothy McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in June 2001 for the attack.
In April 2010, a food vendor foiled an attempt to set off a car bomb in New York’s Time Square.