NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville residents recall tense moments during the early morning hours of Christmas Day in 2020.
“It’s a tragedy any day it happens, but for it to happen Christmas morning… it was so bizarre,” said Travis Frew, who was living on 2nd Avenue near Demonbreun at the time. “It almost felt like an earthquake.”
The massive explosion interrupted the quietness of the holiday. A suicide bomber died in the explosion, but there were no other fatalities. Forty-one businesses were damaged, along with dozens of other homes and cars that were destroyed.
“It was just heartbreaking,” said Christina Wood, who was visiting Nashville Monday with her husband. “Just couldn’t imagine what people are going through that day when you’re looking forward to celebrating with family and you’re scared that your loved ones might be injured and you can’t get ahold of people. I just can’t imagine.”
One year and two days later, city crews reopened the block of 2nd Avenue between Commerce and Church Streets, the very place where the bomb exploded. There is one lane of traffic open to cars and a pedestrian walkway for those traveling on foot.
“We just walked through the pedestrian walkway not knowing that today is the first day that it’s open,” said Tom Wood, Christina’s husband. “It was surreal walking through it, seeing the devastation down there where the explosion actually happened. We paused for a bit at the building that’s being demolished and just realizing how devastating this really was.”
Barriers still line the block, but businesses say it’s just enough to make a difference.
“I was employed over at one of the restaurants that got bombed on Christmas Day last year,” said Bobbie Bradley, who now works at the Chicken Guy located at the corner of 2nd and Commerce. “When one door closes, another opens for you. It gave me an opportunity to work for this company which is a great company.”
Management at the chicken eatery says they are already seeing a 30% increase in foot traffic.
“It’s going to absolutely be a game changer. We’ve been waiting for this,” said Bradley.
City officials say there will be construction and lane closures periodically. Fencing will stay intact between construction projects.