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Tennessee lawmakers send letter to President Trump asking for disaster declaration

After an RV exploded in downtown Nashville Christmas morning, three lawmakers sent letters supporting Governor Bill Lee's request for an emergency declaration.

Three Tennessee lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump on Saturday, asking him to approve Governor Bill Lee's request for an emergency declaration in Davidson County.

Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Marsha Blackburn signed onto the letter. They said that an emergency declaration would allow federal resources to help communities that are still recovering, which were already struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An RV exploded in downtown Nashville Christmas morning, damaging 41 buildings, injuring three people and causing disruptions in communications infrastructure across Tennessee, Kentucky and northern Alabama. 

Officials said that 911 call centers were down across the state because of the explosion. Flights at Nashville International Airport were also affected Christmas morning.

The lawmakers urged the president to approve Governor Lee's request for public assistance categories 'A' and 'B,' according to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act.

In his request, Governor Lee said that Tennesse spent over $175 million managing response and recovery activities between Feb. 2019 - Dec. 2020 for larger events without requesting assistance.