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Flights out of Nashville halted due to telecom issues tied to RV explosion

Flights out of Nashville halted due to telecom issues tied to RV explosion
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights out of Nashville International Airport on Friday following an explosion in the city's downtown area early on Christmas morning, The Associated Press reported.

Flights were suspended due to a telecommunications issue associated with the explosion, according to the newswire, and service was expected to resume around 3 p.m. local time.

A spokesperson for the FAA was not immediately available for comment.

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The explosion, near a building owned by AT&T, also caused widespread communications outages that took down police emergency systems, AP reported.

“We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was the intention,” police spokesman Don Aaron said, according to the newswire.

Jim Greer, an AT&T spokesman, said some customers may have service issues but the company declined to say how widespread outages were.

“Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service,” Greer said in an emailed statement to AP.

The outages reportedly affected parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. Several police agencies reported their 911 systems were down because of the outage, according to AP.

Law enforcement officials earlier in the day said three people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries and multiple buildings were damaged, some extensively, as a result of the downtown explosion they believe was intentional.

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Nashville Police Chief John Drake said officers were responding to an emergency call of gunshots in the downtown area around 5:30 a.m. and found an RV playing a recording saying a potential bomb would detonate within 15 minutes.

Officials then evacuated nearby buildings, Drake said.

Drake said authorities are sweeping the downtown area as a precaution, but at a Friday afternoon briefing he said officials don’t feel there is any further threat.

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Updated at 5:01 p.m.