Building, business owners allowed into bomb investigation site

Posted at 6:17 AM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-30 07:17:10-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For the first time since Friday's bombing, some building and business owners were allowed into the FBI investigation site on Tuesday.

Owners and others were allowed to enter the Second Avenue blast zone to survey the damage for insurance purposes.

Two representatives of Doc Holliday's Saloon were allowed into the building, which sits at 112 Second Avenue N. It's just down the street from where the RV exploded.

"[The FBI] asked us not to take any pictures at the scene. We were told we could take pictures of things we personally needed for insurance purposes but other than that, they did not want to see the phones out," said Megan Hester, director of operations for Cumberland Hospitality, which owns Doc Holliday's as well as several other businesses in Nashville.

Hester and an accompanying bartender, Bradley Ballinger, were allowed into the building but weren't allowed to approach the site where the RV exploded. Still, Hester said she could see the rubble up the street.

"You really couldn't see anything past the barricade except darkness and rubble," she said.

Hester said Doc Holliday's was lucky compared to many other businesses. There was almost no damage to the outside of the building except to an exit sign and to the front door which was forced open by firefighters the morning of the explosion.

"I've been on that street for about 10 years now and it's absolutely heartbreaking. I know people who've lived in the buildings that were destroyed. That's been our family, that's been our home. We've known everybody who has walked down the street. People that are walking their dogs, grabbing coffee at their local shop, it's heartbreaking," said Hester.

She also said she was worried the character of the street would change if some of the damaged buildings were not kept as small businesses and instead ran by corporations.

"It's not just shattered glass, it's not just a little bit of damage, it's not laughable. It is absolute destruction," she said.

Hester believes the Nashville community will come together when the street is eventually reopened.