All About the Six Heroic Officers Who Saved Lives After 'Intentional' Christmas Explosion in Nashville
The officers managed to evacuate the area and save anyone from being killed in the explosion
Six officers with the Metro Nashville Police Department are being hailed as heroes for their response to the "intentional" explosion in the city on Christmas.
On Friday morning, the officers responded to reports of a suspicious RV outside of the AT&T building in Nashville, Tennessee. After a recorded message indicating that a bomb would explode in 15 minutes was heard coming from the RV, the officers evacuated the area. When the RV exploded, multiple buildings were damaged or destroyed and three people were hospitalized, none critically injured.
The incident has since been called an "intentional act" by authorities.
The six officers being commended for their efforts are Tyler Luellen, Brenna Hosey, Michael Sipos, Amanda Topping, James Wells and Sgt. Timothy Miller, who has been with the department for 11 years.
Officer Luellen, who according to WSMV has been with the department for three years, was the first to respond to the scene about five minutes before the RV began counting down to the explosion, officials said during a Sunday news conference.
Officer Luellen had been responding to a "shots fired" call when he arrived at the scene. As he searched the building at 178 Second Avenue North, Officer Hosey arrived and the RV began making an announcement about an impending explosion.
"I wasn't quite sure what I heard," Luellen said during the news conference, "so I looked at officer Hosey and verified we heard the same thing, and then it started over."
Officer Luellen quickly called Sgt. Miller, who "said get everyone you can out there," he recalled during the news conference.
Officers Wells, Sipos and Topping all arrived at the scene to assist in evacuation efforts. Wells, who has been with the department for 21 months, and Topping blocked Second Avenue off from Broadway and Commerce Street, while Sipos assisted Hosey in clearing apartments on Second Avenue floor-by-floor.
Soon, the RV began playing the song "Downtown" by Petula Clark, WSMV reported. When the song finished, the announcement of the bomb continued.
As the officers continued to clear the area and notify residents to evacuate, the bomb went off.
"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 said, recalling when the explosion occurred. "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.' "
Hosey, who has been with the department for four years, said she was thrown backward from the blast and immediately called a loved one afterward to inform them that she was okay. She also got on the radio call to check on Wells, who suffered hearing loss from the explosion.
"I was just trying to make sure that all our people were okay," Hosey said during the news conference.
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None of the officers were seriously injured in the blast. Sipos, who has been with the department for 16 months, was thrown to the ground; Topping, who has been with the department for 21 months, rushed towards Wells and grabbed onto him, and Luellen was knocked over while trying to warn a man walking his dog on the street to evacuate.
"They might not think they're heroes because they go about this job each and every day, but they are our heroes, and they had a really heroic effort that morning," Chief Drake said during the news conference.
After the explosion, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said on Twitter that the state would "supply all of the resources needed to determine what happened and who was responsible."
Lee said that he would be "praying for those who were injured" and expressed his appreciation for the first responders "who acted so quickly this morning."
The Metro Nashville Police Department is continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion.