A recent New York Post article, about accused Nashville Bomber Anthony Quinn Warner, contained an AP photo that appears to show the remains of the RV he allegedly used in the Nashville explosion. We’ve done a close-up examination of that photo and found some other things as well.
First, the photo above shows that most of the street debris, present in earlier photos, has been removed.
Several men are digging in a shallow crater about six feet wide and 18 inches deep. One fireman is holding a broom, another, wearing tactical headgear is digging inside the small crater. A third, in tactical headgear, is holding an ax with a yellow fiberglass handle. A man in hazmat gear is to their left. Four other men, two with “ATF” prints on their blue helmets’ sides, are standing by as well.
We believe that they are excavating the small crater in search of remains of the explosive device used in the bombing. The men in the tactical gear are likely FBI or ATF Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists.
After a bombing, an extensive search is made to find any piece of the device for analysis, reconstruction of the detonation mechanism, and testing for chemical residues left by the blast. This small crater is consistent with an explosive device of low destructive power like a volatile gas but not a liquid, which burns, rather than explosively detonates, when ignited.
Next, we looked just above their heads at what appears to be the rear axle assembly of a large truck with two blue buckets in the foreground.
Just to the left of the bucket appear to be a pair of leaf springs of the type used in the Ford Chassis Class C motor homes, the E-350 series. These leaf springs absorb the heavy loads on the rear suspension, in place of shock absorbers, and have a long service life. To the right of the blue bucket appears to be the fractured and scorched case of the rear transaxle. This metal is not very thick, like the axles themselves, which is why it looks scooped out. Further to the right are a brake line and parts of the rear brake assembly.
In the third blowup, the remains of the RV’s frame, following the explosion, are visible.
We assess that this photo shows the remains of a large, full-frame vehicle of the type appropriate for a Class C motor home. At the center of the photo, the remains of the whitish engine subframe assembly can be seen. Despite the explosion, the RV’s engine still appears to be attached to the main ladder frame. To its left, the distinctive beam shapes of a full truck frame are visible as well. At the far left there appears to be a front axle still attached to the shaft assembly and universal joint.
The condition of the metal suggests that it was more affected by the initial explosion than any resulting fire, because, rather than the metal being uniformly blackened by fire, parts have retained colors like silver and a rusty red. The whitish color of the subframe may be residue left from firefighting foam.
Looking at the original photo, it is possible that the truck components were moved off the crater in order to be better examined; but it’s also possible that the explosion flipped the truck over on its back 15-20 feet away from the blast site. Again, this suggests a gas rather than high explosive detonation, since, in the latter case the truck would have been blown straight up into the air, and its debris spread over a wide area. Since the rest of the motor home is made of wood, plastic, and fiberglass it was obliterated, burned, or blown away from the explosion.
This continues to be a developing story and we will update it as more information becomes available.