Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee said in a statement on Twitter that the state would supply any needed resources to determine what had happened and who was responsible.
He said he was “praying for those who were injured” and was thankful to the emergency workers.
“President Trump has been briefed on the explosion in Nashville, Tennessee, and will continue to receive regular updates,” Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary, said. “The President is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured.”
WeGo Public Transit, the city’s bus system that serves the greater Nashville area, said service was not disrupted but buses were helping the authorities to clear the area and get individuals out of the cold.
Hours after the explosion, several fire trucks were gathered at the edge of downtown and blue lights flashed under the Hard Rock Cafe’s large spinning guitar on Broadway. Except for a distant fire alarm and the sounds of a helicopter, downtown was quiet.
The Rev. Jayd Neely, the pastor at St. Mary of the Seven Sorrow’s Catholic Church located a few blocks from the explosion, was finishing his morning prayers when he heard the explosion. At first he considered the possibility it was construction, but knew that was unlikely on Christmas morning.
That it could be an intentional act is troubling, he said. Now only a handful of parishioners can attend services scheduled for noon and musicians are unable to come because of road closures, so there will be no music. “It’s really evil,” Father Neely said, “especially on Christmas Day.”
Freddie O’Connell, a Nashville council member for the area affected by the explosion, said, “2020 already had plenty of devastation,” Mr. O’Connell said. “It’s hard to wake up on Christmas morning and see more of it in my hometown.”
Jamie McGee reported from Nashville; Lucy Tompkins from Bozeman, Mont.; Derrick Bryson Taylor from London; Michael S. Schmidt from Conn.; and Hamilton Matthew Masters from Nashville.
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