Metro councilman: Curfew in explosion area ‘definitely caught people by surprise’


Debris scattered near the scene of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard early Christmas morning.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro councilmember Freddie O’Connell took to Twitter on Friday to provide updates on plans in place for people displaced due to an early morning explosion on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville.

O’Connell said while he understands the reasons for the curfew with the incident being under federal investigation, he said the curfew put in place by Mayor John Cooper caught residents who live in the area by surprise.

Freddie O'Connell
Councilmember Freddie O’Connell (Source: City of Nashville)

When asked by a resident of The Stahlman if it meant he would not be able to go home until Sunday, O’Connell referenced that the area is considered by federal agents as a “Hot Zone” but said he had hoped there would have been an exception made for residents who live in the area.

O’Connell said the caveat is that “this is a federal investigation, and they are keeping the hot zone as clear as possible to preserve evidence and assess damage.”

O’Connell says utilities remain turned on to buildings in the affected area that didn’t receive substantial damage. He said he is currently working with constituents in his district “who are out of town but can’t get anyone in to their buildings” to turn off water to prevent pipes from freezing, etc.

O’Connell said he has received numerous offers for temporary housing assistance to those affected and displaced by the downtown Nashville explosion, including from Gaylord Opryland. He is also reportedly working with Mayor John Cooper, Nashville Downtown Partnership, HubNashville, and Metro Homeless Impact to work out a plan for residents displaced.

“Nashville’s first responders are responding to a difficult, dangerous situation with limitless courage, said O’Connell. “And dozens of my constituents just lost their homes in 19 degree weather. We will work together to get through this and rebuild,” said Councilmember O’Connell.

Nashville EOC and Metro Police are expected to meet Saturday in conjunction with federal authorities and another news conference is expected.

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