Six police officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) are being hailed as heroes for jumping into action before an RV exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning.
After a recorded voice began announcing an RV parked on the street in downtown Nashville would “explode in 15 minutes,” nearby police officers immediately began evacuating residents in the area, CNN reported. Only three people suffered injuries from the blast, largely due to the officers’ quick response.
The MNPD acknowledged the officers who responded to the threats and explosion on Friday: Officers Brenna Hosey, Tyler Luellen, Michael Sipos, Amanda Topping, James Wells, and Sergeant Timothy Miller.
“Officers immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating residents here, not knowing if the bomb was going to detonate immediately or if it was going to go off in the time that it was stated,” said John Drake, Metro Nashville Police Chief.
John Cooper, the city’s mayor, called the officers “heroes” and praised the six cops for taking swift action and directing people “away from danger to save lives, even at the time that their own lives were imperiled.”
“They are heroes,” Cooper said. “And I am grateful for them and all of Nashville’s first responders.”
On Christmas Day, the RV exploded, shattering windows and damaging nearby buildings as flaming debris flew through the air.
“As I turn around, for me it felt like I only took three steps, then the music stops, and as I’m walking back toward Topping, I just see orange,” Wells recalled. “Then I heard a loud boom. As I’m stumbling, because it rocked me that hard I started stumbling, I told myself ‘stay on your feet, stay alive.'”
“We’re just walking toward each other and I just saw the biggest flames I’ve ever seen. The biggest explosion,” Topping said. “I just lost it and started to sprint toward him.”
“I’ve never grabbed somebody so hard in my life,” she added.
The three individuals injured in the explosion were hospitalized, but are in stable condition.
“I was just trying to make sure that all our people were OK,” Hosey said.
Police spokesman Don Aaron said the blast knocked one officer down and caused hearing loss in a second.
“This is a year where we understand what our first responders mean to our community time and time again,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately on Christmas Day, you have another example of that.”