The claim: Two Christmas disasters can be tied to the election
On Christmas Day, an RV in Nashville, Tennessee, exploded, severely damaging many of the buildings around it in the explosion. Across the country on Christmas Eve, a printing press company in New York burned to the ground. A post on Facebook theorized that the two disasters were connected by a plot to steal the election.
The post, which has been shared almost 900 times, makes two claims: A building damaged in the Nashville explosion was holding Dominion Voting Systems machines set to be audited, and in New York, the company that burned was under investigation for printing and shipping fake ballots to Pennsylvania.
The post's creator did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment.
Both claims are false.
Nashville explosion not tied to Dominion voting machines; audit nonexistent
There is no evidence to support the claim that the explosion in Nashville and fire in Rochester, New York, that occurred around the holidays point toward a broader conspiracy to hide election malfeasance.
Investigators say the explosion in Nashville was perpetrated by a 63-year-old Tennessean named Anthony Warner, who blared a warning to nearby people from his RV requesting they evacuate before the bomb detonated. DNA found at the scene matched Warner's, according to an FBI press release. His motive is unknown.
"It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death," said David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in an interview on NBC's "Today." "That's all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all of our partners."
The RV was parked on Second Avenue in Nashville, outside an AT&T transmission building, among other businesses and residences. Some on social media have speculated that AT&T was contracted to audit Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology supplier that has become central to false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
Spokespeople for both AT&T and Dominion told USA TODAY that AT&T was not contracted to audit Dominion voting machines, and no Dominion voting machines were being held in the AT&T building outside of which the RV exploded.
"Dominion and AT&T have both called on the media and the public to reject the baseless rumors circulating on social media, which suggest without evidence that there was some election-related connection to the Nashville explosion," a spokesperson for Dominion told USA TODAY.
Jim Greer, a spokesperson for AT&T, also told USA TODAY the claims are "not true."
New York printing company debunked falsehoods about fire
There is no evidence to support the claim that City Blue Imaging, a longtime Rochester, New York, printing business that went up in flames on Christmas Eve, was under investigation for printing fake ballots. The printing business took to social media to debunk the claim itself.
"To the misinformed people on @Twitter and @instagram #cityblueimaging does not print #ballots, does not do work for #Phoenixgraphics and was never owned by the owner of #phoenixgraphics," the company wrote on its Facebook page on Dec. 27. "You may want to read a book some day to learn about my reference to rising like a #phoenix."
In an interview with Rochester's ABC 13, City Blue Imaging sales manager John Mealy condemned misinformation about the tragedy and dismissed the claims again.
“It’s crazy, the amount of misinformation that you see,” Mealy said. “It’s disgusting. It really is. And that’s not what we’re about. We’re focusing on moving forward.”
The conspiracy theory appears to have originated in a tweet by Lin Wood, an attorney and Trump supporter, who has pushed a number of false election claims.
Our ruling: False
There is no evidence to support the claim that the Nashville bombing or City Blue Imaging's fire were connected to election malfeasance, so we rate this claim FALSE. Representatives for companies involved say there is no truth to the claims.
Our fact-check sources:
The Tennessean, Dec. 25, "Nashville bombing: What we know about downtown explosion on Christmas morning"
NBC "Today," Dec. 28, "FBI identifies suspect in Nashville bombing"
The Democrat & Chronicle, Dec. 27, "Three firefighters hurt battling three-alarm blaze in Rochester"
City Blue Imaging Services' Facebook, Dec. 27, post
Rochester's ABC 13, Dec. 28, "After devastating fire, City Blue Imaging looks toward future"
Attorney Lin Wood's Twitter, Dec. 27, tweet
Snopes, Dec. 29, "Did City Blue Imaging Print Voting Ballots, Then Burn Down?"
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Nashville bombing, NY fire unrelated, not tied to election