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“These officers’ acts of heroism is just tremendous.”
That’s what Metro Police Chief John Drake said about the six police officers who rushed into danger Christmas Day morning to evacuate residents before an RV explosion in downtown Nashville.
Officers responded to a shots fired call just a block away from Broadway at 5:30 a.m. when they spotted a suspicious RV parked outside 166 2nd Ave. North. Chief Drake said the RV was making announcements warning that the bomb would detonate in 15 minutes and a bomb squad was called in.
Officers immediately began going door to door, evacuating apartments. Police also diverted one man who was walking his dog on 2nd Ave. just before the explosion occurred.
“These officers didn’t care about themselves,” Chief Drake said. “They didn’t think about that. They cared about the citizens of Nashville. They went in and we’d be talking not about the debris that we have here but potential people.”
The officers who evacuated residents are:
- Officer Brenna Hosey, who has been with the department for 4 years;
- Officer James Luellen, who has been with the department for 3 years;
- Officer Michael Sipos, who has been with the department for 16-months;
- Officer Amanda Topping, who has been with the department for 21 months;
- Officer James Wells, who has been with the department for 21-months; and
- Sergeant Timothy Miller, who has been with the department for 11 years.
The bomb squad was responding as the RV exploded at 6:30 a.m. outside the AT&T transmission building, Metro Police Spokesman Don Aaron said. The impact of the explosion spread far beyond Nashville as an AT&T outage has caused disruptions in law enforcement agencies 911 system. It’s believed to be an intentional act and a $33,500 reward was being offered for information in the case as of Friday evening.
We think lives were saved from these officers,” Aaron said.
One officer in the area was knocked down and experienced hearing loss. Aaron says they are hoping that’s only temporary. Three people were transported as a result of the explosion and are reported to be in stable condition.
A state of civic emergency has been declared in Nashville and a curfew is in effect until 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
FBI is leading the investigation into the intentional explosion which caused damage to at least 41 businesses in the area.