It has been 21 days since the massive explosion on 2nd Avenue N. rocked downtown Nashville at 6:30 a.m. (CST) on Christmas Day at the AT&T facility. That’s when Tyler Powell was knocked out of his bed and on to his floor.
When the dust had literally settled and he had gathered his wits and found out what all the noise was about, the 2004 graduate of Farragut High School called his parents – Doug and Lyn Powell of Farragut. “With the hour time difference they didn’t know anything about it, so I filled them in and said: “Yes, I’m fine but it was pretty close to me.“
Like a 45-second walk. Like maybe 2,000 feet and around the corner from his loft apartment and parking garage at The Exchange Lofts at 309 Church St. He lives on the fifth floor of this six-story building.
“I could not accurately describe to you the sound or the feeling of what happened,” Powell, 35, says now. “It was like the sound of an intense thunderstorm multiplied by maybe 50. The compression of the air and sound was incredible.”
It blew his 10-foot heavy balcony door open, broke windows and even bent and twisted the hinges to the crank mechanism on his balcony windows. The blast split a door frame in half and blew out hallway windows just outside his apartment.
Powell’s father is a past president of the Rotary Club of Farragut and is Knoxville sales manager for AFP Hose & Equipment. Lyn is a longtime teacher of Health and Wellness at Farragut High School.
“I thought that when I saw it was Tyler calling it was the good morning and Merry Christmas call,” Doug says. “It was a lot more than that. We just thank God he was OK.”
Tyler graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2008 with degrees in finance and logistics. For 13 years he was worked for Carter-Haston Real Estate Services in Nashville and is vice president of asset management. The company manages 50 apartment communities, and Tyler’s portfolio includes 25 of those, including two in Knoxville. One is The Preserve at Hardin Valley along with The Enclave at Hardin Valley.
The man who detonated the bomb in front of the AT&T Communications Building and died in his RV was identified as 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner from Antioch, Tennessee. At least eight people were injured, and more than 40 buildings were badly damaged. Authorities have yet to discover his motive. They said that the RV was parked in front of the AT&T facility beginning around 1 a.m.
“I was out walking my French bulldog, Lilly, around 1:30 a.m. and I’m so glad it didn’t go off then,” Tyler said. “I also left my car parked on the street since it was Christmas and no traffic. My car didn’t get a scratch on it with all the debris flying around. Amazing.”
Tyler says in the next several days he thought he was living in the sequel to “The Fugitive.” He added: “All you would see were men and women in law enforcement with FBI, DEA, ATF, DHS, TBI and some others on their uniforms. They were everywhere.”
Tyler says that in addition to this event, he’s lived through the recent tornadoes that hit Nashville and Cookeville so hard in Putnam County earlier this year plus the flooding in May 2010 and numerous fires. “I sat and watched one of those tornadoes from my balcony go right through town and that was plenty terrifying,” he said. “But this was worse.”
To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email Tom King here or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.