Nashville woman helping her neighbors following Christmas Day explosion


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than 30 people are heading into the New Year without a home following the Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville.

Some of the residents at the Lofts at 160 on 2nd Avenue were at home during the time of the blast and other, fortunately, were not.

The FBI and management at the Lofts at 160 told residents the building was not structurally sound and they would not be able to return. That means all of these people have little to nothing to their name.

“I’m just trying to make sure everyone gets belongings, food, money, things for their family,” said Lauren Whatley, who lost her apartment in the blast.

“The people that were out of town have the suitcase that they packed, the bag they packed and that’s it, and the people that were there during the blast they have what they took out of their apartment which in the heat of the moment was nothing it was there loved ones pets if they could and they left.”


Whatley is now creating lists of what all of her neighbors need and sending them texts and emails with resources.

The United Way of Greater Nashville has activated it’s Restore the Dream Fund. Charitable donations will be collected from the community to help people impacted by the downtown Nashville bombing, Mayor John Cooper said Tuesday.

The money will be used to provide assistance to residents whose homes were destroyed, as well as employees who are out of work due to the explosion closing businesses and restaurants, according to Mayor Cooper.

To contribute to the Restore the Dream Fund, click here or text “RESTORE 20” to 41444.

People who have been affected by the explosion and need immediate assistance can call United Way’s 24-hour resource and referral line at 211 or visit their website.

Residents can also call 1800-RED-CROSS to get in touch with a caseworker who will be assigned to them. More information can be found here.

“If you are impacted by the Nashville explosion and lost your home, please let us know at 1800-RED CROSS. You will then be prompted to option “4” then “2” then “2” to be connected to a caseworker. Help is available. Call today,” The Red Cross posted on social media.

In addition, Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World, has launched a fund to help downtown Nashville business owners affected by the bombing Christmas morning. Upon learning of the explosion and the resulting damage, Lemonis started the “30 Day Fund,” contributing $500,000 upon its creation.

The FBI is working to compile a list of community resources to share with those impacted by the bombing. In the meantime, anyone needing assistance can contact the FBI Memphis field office at (901) 747-4300.

First responders, who have been working tirelessly since the explosion, are in need of support kits. Supplies can be dropped off at 218 Omohundro Place.

Project 615 is selling “Nashville Strong” t-shirts with 100% of proceeds going to victims and businesses impacted by the blast.

Nashville Convention & Visitor’s Corp have launched a “Donations for Nashville Neighbors” fundraiser.

Kenect Nashville is offering complimentary co-working space including parking as part of relief for businesses who have been impacted by the blast.  In addition, Kenect is also offering 1 month free garage parking and a reduced premium flat rates for short term leases for anyone affected by the disaster. Furnished floor plans are currently available.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the downtown Nashville explosion. Anyone with information should call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip by clicking here.

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