The shockwaves from the Christmas explosion in downtown Nashville reached into Kentucky and beyond, but it especially close to home for Frankfort native Kyle Roten.
“I woke up to the rumble and my dog was barking like there was thunder, but there was no thunder,” said Roten, who has lived in Nashville for seven years and lives about five miles from where the explosion occurred. “I had friends and family reaching out to me. That’s when I got on the internet and saw what was going on.”
Shortly after that, his internet, cell service and television all went dark, as the blast occurred outside an AT&T facility.
The recreational vehicle exploded on Second Avenue, in the heart of Nashville’s tourism district. It’s a place Roten, who works as a bartender, knows well.
“I walked that (street) a thousand times,” he said. “I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s really upsetting.”
The employees in the downtown service sector treat the neighborhood like it's home, he said.
“When you work down there, it’s a community,” he said. “You spend every evening after work at Buffalo Billiards. It no longer exists. It’s a staple of Nashville.”
The city just finished rebuilding from damaging tornadoes in March, which were followed by COVID and now the explosion.
“The one positive is … Nashville has dealt with so many things this year,” he said. “What’s good about it is there’s a resilience in Nashville people. They’re willing to support and help each other. They’ve taken hit after hit after hit. That’s why I choose to live here.”
Through much of Kentucky, cellphone service and internet access was cut off in the days following the blast on Christmas Day.
Cell and internet service had been mostly restored in Franklin County by Monday.
Locally, service outages for cellphones, internet and video inconvenienced many, and affected emergency communication as well.
Frankfort Assistant Police Chief Lynn Aubrey said the 911 dispatch center, which handles emergency communications for all of Frankfort and Franklin County, only experienced minor problems from an operations standpoint.
“Our location services, which identifies callers and the caller’s location, was down,” she said. We had some problems with NCIC (National Crime Information Center), but it’s through Kentucky State Police.”
The 911 center’s services were restored relatively quickly, she said, and Frankfort was less affected than other agencies across the state.
“We were able to take calls like we normally would,” she said. “I believe everything was up and running as normal Sunday morning.
“It could’ve been a whole lot worse. We were fortunate to still accept emergency and non-emergency calls.”
Four Kentucky State Police posts in western Kentucky reported major problems throughout the weekend related to the Nashville explosion. Three of those said service was restored Sunday, according to the KSP website. All four said there were issues regarding incoming phone calls to post locations and some local 911 dispatch centers, particularly from AT&T customers.
In a statement posted Monday, AT&T said its mobile network was functioning normally and “nearly all” residential services had been restored, along with service to business customers.
The company said it was still using 11 portable cell sites to support customers and first responders.
AT&T’s office building in downtown Nashville was a short distance from the site of the bombing Christmas Day.