'Call the guests down. Get everyone out.' Officer helps hotel evacuate before Nashville bombing

21c Museum Hotel
Posted at 8:16 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 21:16:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Minutes before the explosion on Christmas morning, a police officer went to the 21c Museum Hotel to tell them to evacuate.

"I walked out to the front desk and he was standing there, and he looked a little more nervous than usual," said Tanner Newcomb, a front desk employee. "That's whenever I was like something is probably not good. Something is wrong."

Tanner Newcomb was working alone when Officer Tyler Luellen of the Metro Nashville Police Department asked him to clear the hotel around 6:15 a.m. on Christmas.

"He just said you got to evacuate the building immediately. Call the guests down. Get everyone out. And I was like 'what is going on?' And he told me it was a public safety concern," Newcomb said.

Officer Luellen directed Newcomb to tell guests to walk away from downtown. Newcomb recognized the officer from past calls and heeded his warning. Using the hotel's intercom, he called all the guest rooms and then contacted each room individually. He said police needed the building cleared as soon as possible.

"So we started heading the opposite of downtown which was up towards the courthouse. We were just power walking and then it was like boom," he said.

Newcomb, nervous about what was going to happen next, called his father.

"I called my dad like 'hey, I don't know what's going to happen, but I love you. I have to evacuate the hotel.' So then I went back in," he said.

Newcomb safely evacuated roughly forty guests. He is thankful the officer told him to spring into action.

"I don't know what would have happened had he told us not to evacuate," Newcomb said.

21c Museum Hotel has been cordoned off since the explosion. According to police, it could reachable by the weekend.