An explosion shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning, shattering windows, damaging buildings and wounding three people. Authorities said they believed the blast was intentional. The FBI is leading the investigation.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said the 6:30 a.m. explosion was believed to be “an intentional act.” Police earlier said they believe a vehicle was involved in the explosion. Aaron said three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, although none were in critical condition.

  • Buildings are damaged one block away from an explosion on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Black smoke and flames were seen early Christmas morning, billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene. (Andrew Nelles/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

  • Damage, including blown out windows can be seen on buildings at Second and Church following an explosion in the area on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Black smoke and flames were seen early Christmas morning, billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene. (Andrew Nelles/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

  • Debris litters the street as emergency personnel respond to the explosion reported in the area of Second and Commerce on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Black smoke and flames were seen early Christmas morning, billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene. (Andrew Nelles/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

  • Emergency personnel work 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)

  • Debris is 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)

  • Glass from broken windows litters Bank Street at Second Avenue following the explosion in the area of Second and Commerce on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Black smoke and flames were seen early Christmas morning, billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene. (Andrew Nelles/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

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The FBI will be taking the lead in the investigation, said spokesman Joel Siskovic. Federal investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene. The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes, such as explosives violations and acts of terrorism. Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on the scene.

Black smoke and flames were seen early Friday billowing from the area, which is packed with bars, restaurants and other retail establishments and is known as the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene.

Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard.

Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background and cries of people in great distress ring in the background. A fire is visible in the street outside. McCoy said the windows of his home were entirely blown out.

“All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said.

“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he told The Associated Press.

“There were about four cars on fire. I don’t know if it was so hot they just caught on fire, and the trees were all blown apart,” he said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said on Twitter that the state would provide the resources necessary “to determine what happened and who was responsible. Please join @MariaLeeTN and me in praying for those who were injured and we thank all of our first responders who acted so quickly this morning.”

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Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Washington and Thalia Beaty in New York contributed.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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