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The RV that blew up in Nashville on Friday morning was playing a recording that warned it was going to explode, the city’s police chief said.
The recording said “a potential bomb would detonate within 15 minutes,” Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said during an afternoon news conference.
Officers who had responded to reports of shots fired in the area “decided to evacuate the buildings nearby” and were knocking on doors when the RV exploded, Drake said.
No evidence of a Christmas Day shooting was uncovered before the cops came upon the RV, officials have said.
Meanwhile, an unconfirmed YouTube video clip titled “Nashville Explosion” appears to contain audio of the recording, with a female voice urging people to flee just before the blast.
“All buildings in this area must be evacuated now. All buildings in this area must be evacuated now,” the voice says.
“If you can hear this message, evacuate now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
At that point, a loud boom is heard and the screen — which was showing a fish-eye view of a sidewalk and vehicles parked along a street — goes white.
Drake said bomb-sniffing dogs were scouring the area around the blast scene at Second Avenue North and Commerce Street, but added that authorities don’t believe there are any more devices nearby.
Also during the news conference, police spokesman Don Aaron said authorities don’t know if anyone “was in the RV when it exploded.”
No bodies have been found, he said.
At least three people were hurt in the blast and are being treated for injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening.
A cop at the scene was also knocked to the ground when the RV blew up.
Several people who were taken to a local police precinct are considered witnesses, Aaron said.
Officials didn’t say if the blast was being treated as an act of terror, but Nashville US Attorney Don Cochran said the “entire resources of the Department of Justice” were being devoted to the investigation.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Foster said authorities were processing the massive crime scene for evidence and urged anyone with information to contact the feds by phone or through a special webpage at http://www.fbi.gov/nashville.