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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  April 18, 2013 6:00am-8:00am PDT

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united states, president obama, he's about to arrive here in boston, as we get ready for a memorial service, honoring the victims. those who died, as well as those who suffered in this horrible boston marathon bombing. that will begin shortly. we're following also the investigation behind this terror. >> how are you, wolf? good to be with you today. we'll start with what's going on in west, texas. west is the name of the town, about 20 miles from waco. a very desperate situation since about 7:30 local p.m. a fire broke out at a fertilizer factory there. about 15 minutes later, a massive explosion. so powerful, it registered as an earthquake. 2.1 magnitude earthquake. explosion of noxious compound
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used in making federal lieser this is a small town, only about 3,000 people. 50 to 60 homes have been destroyed. half the town, 1,300 people, forced to be evacuated. injuries were quick, some severe, over 160 people treated so far. the most difficult part of the situation, it's so dire, it's the unknown. the chemical compound, anhydrous ammonia, used in making fertilizer. can be lethal. there were some early injuries on it, they have been battling throughout the night. search and rescue going on as we speak. the latest challenge here. even though they had the benefit of daylight is weather. martin savidge on the scene. what's the latest? >> reporter: we are standing here with the latest information coming out of west, texas.
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what we known as arriving in the area, search and rescue crews are making a sweep of the town. the problem they had before the sun came up, is severe weather that made it difficult for search and rescue. and they are still looking for potential survivors, most are transported overnight. over 200 people taken to local hospitals, and most of the injuries suffered from blast injuries, range from moderate to severe. those that went in to try to rescue friends and neighbors in small town. they know everyone here, said it was a horrific scene. not only the devastation, which they just could not believe, they described it as something like tornado swept through their entire town, they are also just casualties that they saw. people stumbling out of ruins of their homes, many of them covered from head to toe with blood. one nurse i spoke to said she
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drove to the scene, and she immediately saw a woman stumble out of an apartment, covered from head to foot with blood. she then realized she was holding a little child in her arms, that child too covered with blood. the child is alive. treatment began right there on the streets for many. today, it is going to be trying to figure out exactly what caused the fire, and also trying to ascertain how many people may have died. death toll put at 5 to 15. authorities warn it could go higher. we also know among the casualties, are first responders, news is spreading. it begins with a nod, a telephone call, and they are realizing that someone they knew is gone here in west, texas. for cnn news, i'm martin savidge. >> thank you for the report. we'll check in with you there. we'll talk about the risk of weather. if i still have you, martin, can
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you tell me, is the weather proving to be any benefit, or dealing with more tough conditions? >> reporter: u.s. a bit of both, actually, chris. winds problematic. shipping back and forth. strong at times and that could shift debris if you are trying to do a search or a building that's weakened by the blast. the rain clears the air, helps wash particles out. toxics, things like that. it helps when it comes to any kind of environmental hazard. but it has slowed at least, the search and rescue effort and it will help stabilize fires and put those embers out. good and bad. daylight is the biggest help they have now. >> all right, martin, we'll check back with you, to explain to you at home, the reason that this weather may be a little bit helpful with the chemical compound they are worried about, anhydrous ammonia means without water. it turns into a vapor, dry, can be weighed down by water, tamped into the ground. that's what we hope happens here. the continuing risk, fire is not
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out. being battled during more difficult conditions because of winds and weather. another tank of fertilizer compound they are worried about. that's what exploded in the first place. another one, ongoing thing and then there is search and rescue. our thoughts and prayers with the people down there as they continue to fight. we have george howell on the phone, monitoring the situation at the hospital. george, what do we know? any new influx of injured? >> reporter: we have new information. hillcrest hospital, insight into patients. the latest number we had, at least 101 patients at this hospital alone. they saw the most patients. here is what we know. 28 of those patients were admitted and continue to receive care. we know that two patients are pediatric trauma patients who were transferred to scott & white mclean's children's hops. we heard word about the nursing
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home near the plant. 12 elderly patients taken to the hospital, taken to alternative nursing facilities. in addition to children admitted, transferred, we know 15 patients treated and released, and released to their families, to their friend. that's what we know about this one hospital alone, and i spoke -- we heard from glen robinson. we get a better sense of the injuries that they are dealing with, listen to this. >> we have seen, as you would expect in this type of blast, a lot of lacerations. we have seen some large, some puncture wounds. taking care of a number of broken bones, dislocated hips and fractured hips, fractured legs, those types of things, we have also -- our neurosurgical
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trauma team, taken care of a handful of patients that have had head injuries. >> reporter: so i spoke with robinson a few minutes ago. he said we will get a new update around 3:00 p.m. central time. a lot of information, but i want to run through this real quick. other hospitals, providence hospital, saw 65 patients, chris, scott & white saw 5 patients, 2 children in critical condition. three adults, one in critical condition two in stable condition. parkland hospital in dallas, quite a stellar burn unit there. one of their expertises. we know they have two patients from this area. still unclear why those patients are there, and their condition, but we are -- you know, obviously keeping in touch with the hospitals to learn more. >> all right, george. please keep us in the loop. we know you are doing reporting down there. be safe in that weather. the good news, these are big injury numbers for such a small
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place. good news, they haven't gone up since we started covering this early this morning. a very fluid situation. wolf, just like we saw in boston, a horrible set of circumstances we are facing, a small up community pulled together themselves they became as citizens first responders and helped make this situation less tragic, but still going on, wolf. >> still going on. a lot of heroes out in west, texas, also a heroes here in boston. chris, stand by for a moment. we're also learning that several firefighters are still missing after the blast at the federal lieser plant in west, texas, not far from waco, according to a police sergeant, who is reporting this information. apparently the law enforcement official who has been missing after the blast has been accounted for. it has been accounted for, he's in a hospital in critical condition right now. the texas national guard is
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monitoring the air in and around the town of west, texas. it's not clear how many people have been exposed to this kind of ammonia. the gas coming from this fertilizer plant. it's a gas used to make fertilizer at the plant. buti but its fumes can be very dangerous. suffocating, can cause blistering, can cause chemical burns if it stays in the body. this is a serious situation, elizabeth cohen, medical correspondent. senior medical correspondent, talk a little bit about the impact of the gas from this kind of fertilizer plant. >> right. we know a lot about this gas, it's often involved in explosions. when crystal meth labs explode, that's ammonia. what it is, if you get a huge big whiff of it and are you exposed to it a lot over time, even quickly it can kill you. however, if you don't get too much of it, get out to the fresh
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air quickly, you can be perfectly fine. it really depends on how much you breathe in. listen to the press conferences. it seems like they are more dealing with the results of the explosion, not so much the results of the gas inhalation. >> the debris and the material that exploded. >> that's right. >> causing serious physical harm to a lot of people. but not necessarily the gas. not over with by any means. >> no, it isn't. we don't know how much this gas has dissipated. so the explosion itself, burns some of it up, which is a good thing. and wind can take it away, and certain temperature situations can make it dissipate. we don't know how long the gas hung out for. people were exposed to high concentrations. it can be instantly dangerous. even if not instantly dangerous, it can cause lung irritation, ear, nose, throat, eye irritation. >> what is the treatment? how do you deal with that?
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>> you know what? fresh air. i know it seems strange. you can't counteract the effects. you just get them fresh air as quickly as you can. >> medical personnel all over the place. a serious situation in west, texas, right now. thank you very much. one thing potentially could help is rain, some weather coming into the area, jennifer delgado standing by with the latest on the weather moving in. serious weather that could be bad for the rescue and recovery, but at the same time, could be good, jennifer, as far as dealing with some of the gas-related issues. >> that's right. the rain is certainly good, because this is helping, of course, with the fire there. also talking about a negative to it. the winds moving along with the cold front. you can see the winds gusting at 25 miles per hour. at times, have been up to 40, 45. winds out of the northwest. earlier, before the front moved through, coming in from the southwest. and pushing the fumes in a more
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easterly direction. now, it's going to push it down toward the southeast. you are looking what's left of the rain through parts of waco as well as west, texas and still lingering lightning. we're really concerned about that, so many people being outdoors, first responders and people without homes, but as we go throughout the morning, rain done by 9:00, wind gusting to 35 miles an hour at times. we'll continue to follow that, but it's going to be cold. wolf, talking temperatures dropping near 38 degrees tonight. significant drop, 40 degrees cooler. >> serious weather in texas, near west, texas, where the federal lies fertilizer plant exploded. still ahead, boston coming together to heal. thousands inside the cathedral of the holy cross for an enter faith service that is about to begin. the president of the united states, the first lady, also
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they are on the way to participate in the service. our special coverage of that and all the breaking news out of texas, the investigation into the boston massacre, all of that, continues. [ female announcer ] new lean cuisine salad additions. bring your own lettuce. byol. and we'll dress it up with grilled chicken. crunchy veggies. fruits, dressings and crispy noodles. new lean cuisine salad additions. just byol. find us in frozen.
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welcome back to our special coverage. i'm wolf blitzir, breaking news out of texas right now. we have learned that 5 to 15
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people are now believed to have died in the massive explosion at that fertilizer plant near waco, town of west, texas. police are also dealing with several firefighters who are missing. people who responded. first responders, about 160 people have been sent to local hospitals, the mayor of west, texas, said it was like a nuclear bomb going off in this town. many people say the blast felt like an earthquake. it actually registered as a 2.1 seismic event. that's an earthquake, up to 60 houses around the fertilizer plant were damaged. now officials are deeply worried that people may have been exposed to a dangerous chemical gas. we're also following other important stories, including a major story here in boston. the healing process.
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it continues today after monday's attack that turned this city, this city's beloved marathon to mayhem. about two hours from now, less than two hours from now, the community hopes to come together at an interfaith memorial service to honor those who died as well as the victims of the twin bombings at the boston marathon. president owe became kra and the first lady on their way to boston. he will speak at the sperr faith memorial service. we'll bring it to you live. investigators are reporting significant, in their word, significant progress in finding out who is responsible for those two bombings, no arrests have yet been made, no arrests have been made, no one in custody. but they have some serious suspicious, of images taken at the finish line moments before the two blasts.
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photos of -- of those men have been distributed to law enforcement. and people are going through those photos to try to determine if, in fact, these men may have had a role. today, we're also expecting the test results from the letters sent to president obama and the republican senator, roger wicker of mississippi, those letters are suspected to have been tainted, to have been laced with the poison ricin. it can kill. you ricin. the fbi has arrested a man in mississippi in connection with this case. his name, paul kevin curtis, and he also is an elvis presley impersonator of all things. officials across the nation are looking for more suspicious letters even as we speak right now. chris cuomo watching all of this. just outside the cathedral of the holy cross, where the interfaith memorial service will take place, chris. >> all right, thanks, wolf. people lined up since 4:00 in
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the morning. the name of the service is called healing our city. clear gee from all over boston. political dignitaries here, archbishop sean cardinal o'malley will be here, and the guest of honor, president obama and the first lady. the life of the dead is put into the hearts of the living. this allows people to come together, share in their grief. i'm joined by jessica yellin and john king. this is a message that will have big importance for people here. >> it will here, chris and around the nation. the president is well aware of that. i suspect he has given a lot of speeches at events, sad events, especially in the wake of recent gun deaths, mass shootings, tucson and more recently in sandy hook. this speech i think will take a very different tone. today it will not be solely
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about sadness, but about american resilient. i think he will focus a lot on boston strength. this is a tough town, a up to already come back to life. i think you will hear him talk about the people who died and remember them in some detail, but also the heroes. and i also think you might hear him talk about his own experience. he went to school here in boston and he might talk a little bit about his own time as a young man. >> the word resolve the president was using, another clergy member using the lines of community and unity be used in defiance of cruelty and violence. >> part of the president's challenge, governor's challenge, the mayor's challenge, and the community's challenge. there is an anger about what happened. three people killed, 180 or so wounded. shocking, because the marathon a big annual event. the right of spring. always a celebration for people who have nothing to do with
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athletics. and so the city is stunned. to the point of resolve, we don't know from investigators. no information about motive so far. domestic terrorism, international terrorism, the president needs to send a message. you will hear that. you mentioned, we'll have representatives of the different faiths here. in the south end of boston. one of the most diverse neighborhoods. cathedral here, public housing right behind us, this is the community where you have the flow of immigrants, replaced each other over generations. go back years and years. viewers can't see it but you can see that the finish line is steps from here this is the part of the community saying, we know we are planning funerals, we have to come up with a victim's compensation fund, we have to keep up with the investigation, but the community needs to rebound. you hear this from the president after 9/11. president clinton after
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columbine, president obama after newtown. there are issues like healing and mourning, but it's important to send a signal, we'll get back to normal. >> a real unique message after what is officially being called a terrorism attack. america doesn't let terrorism stop us this is a tragedy, we are pausing and remembering, but we keep going. americans move forward. >> it's interesting. someone said to me last night. this was a terror attack, but we're not terrified. they probably did pick the wrong city this time in thinking that they would instill fear in the hearts of the people. in boston, it seems to have an opposite effect. fair assumption? >> you see the political community rallying, but the boston bruins played their game last night. the mayor was angry they canceled the celtics game the night before. he thought that was a mistake. he thought they should have
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played that game. a major hospital is opening. and they called the mayor, said should we cancel that? he said hell, no. they sang "sweet caroline" at the yankees game. >> hold on. we have another situation in west, texas. who can we go to on the ground, figure out what's going on right now. good. here is a press conference right now. we don't know who is speaking. let's listen in. >> i don't know when, and i apologize for not being able to give you a timeline on that. it is what it is. at some point that will happen, but i don't know when. most likely i will be gone and we'll ask somebody else to do. there are no new numbers. i can tell you there are still firefighters missing. i don't know if i told you in the last press briefing or not that one of the missing persons
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was a firefighter/law enforcement officer. that individual has been found. he is in a hospital, and he has some pretty serious injuries. i don't know the status, whether it's critical, serious, or whatever, but i was told that he is in the hospital, has some pretty serious injuries. there are still firefighters missing. those of you who have asked me earlier about the numbers, i don't know. i can tell you that this was -- i have found out for you, it's a volunteer fire department. meaning that they probably have a very large contingent of people that are willing to risk their lives for their neighbors and their community at a phone call. that is what they were doing last night when this occurred. i don't know how many initially responded. i know there are numerous firefighters there. we have accounted for many, but some are not accounted for.
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i think that kind of brings me up to speed with everything that i know. again, i know that information is a little limited. short of assuring you they are there on the ground still. they are still in what we are calling a search and rescue mode, that's good news to me. meaning they are probably still getting injured people. have not gotten to the point of no return, where they don't think there is anybody still alive. i will answer some, but, please work with me. i will called on you as i see hands. try to get to as many as i can. and help listen so we don't repeat questions, fair enough? [ inaudible question ] >> survivors, i want to be clear on that? >> i don't know that again. the purpose, to go in and find
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people who are injured. i don't have the number of how they have rescued or potential bodies they may have found. those numbers are not being released to me, other than to tell you that i know they are going house to house, doing probably initially a very quick search, cursory search, let's get in. they may start going back at some point, doing a little bit more methodical search, slow ground search, being more aware, to look in closets in homes, look under beds, under furniture, things along that line. yes, sir. >> do you know what sparked the fire? >> no word on what caused the fire. atf is here, state fire marshal is here, a couple of questions, why is the clinton county s.o. working? the state fire is working one
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part accounts a part, and the reason that's occurring it allows the state fire marshal and atf to focus on a specific area. their focus will be the fertilizer plant to determine the cause of the fire and the cause of the explosions and then mclean county sheriff's department will be working as hours and days go on. [ inaudible question ] >> the guess that i have still on the estimate is anywhere 5 to 15, and that's a rough number. >> two questions, in terms of emergency personnel, are you assisting firefighters and ems and are all residents accounted for? >> i don't know about the residents in the nursing home. my understanding at this point we are still dismissimissing th four firefighters, that's a rough count [ inaudible question ] >> as far as i'm aware of.
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yes, ma'am. [ inaudible question ] >> my understanding the firefighters missing were first responders. the ones that actually went to the scene, on the call, the page out. responded to the scene, were actually fighting the fire at the time the explosion occurred. >> law enforcement officer that's missing that's now found, what is his condition in the hospital? where was he located? >> again, i said i don't know his condition. i know he was located in a hospital with serious injuries. i don't know what his condition is at this point. my understanding is not only was he law enforcement. i believe he was a constable, but also volunteer firefighter, so he was serving a dual role. [ inaudible question ] >> yes, sir. >> do you know if the reverse 911 system went into effect? >> i don't.
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>> do you know of previous fire safety issues at this plant in the past couple or few years? >> i do not. and, again, i will tell you, even though we are relatively close, the city of west has their own police department. they have their own city management, city employees. we are here in assistance this morning and from last night. those specific questions about what goes on, the intimate questions about whether there have been problems there before, potential fire there before, will have to come from somebody that would know that inside the city. >> estimate how many people from your department and various agencies are working that scene and working the surrounding area at this point? >> i can tell you from first response last night, about 9:30 last night when i pulled up on scene just north of west, there was a contingent of law enforcement, firefighters, from waco, law enforcement from waco,
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mclean county sheriff's department. emergency management team. there were scores of volunteers, and i don't mean to leave anybody out, but i'm telling you i saw a bare minimum of 300 to 400 people there in an official capacity, i know that law enforcement, firefighters from the dallas-ft. worth area are here assisting us as well and folks from all over as far as the state at this point. yes, sir. >> investigators made contact -- [ inaudible ] >> i am not aware of that. [ inaudible question ] do you know of any persons that -- [ inaudible ] >> my apologies. i think i understood you to say if there were any turkish nationalities -- [ inaudible ] >> not that i'm aware of.
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>> law enforcement officer in the hospital -- >> it is known, not been released. yes, sir. [ inaudible question ] >> there is not an estimate on that from what i'm hearing. they will go until they figure they have done everything they need to do. again, there is no -- no rush to hurry up and move from search and rescue to recovery. i assure you, we would much rather do search and rescue instead of move into recovery mode. unfortunate side, yes, we will move into that recovery mode, but we're not there yet. yes, sir. >> have you made any positive i.d.s on casualties that you know of? >> i don't know. i have not heard names of casualties. yes. [ inaudible question ] earlier press conference -- [ inaudible ]
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>> no. the numbers i'm hearing are 5 to 15. the numbers i've heard of firefighters have been 3 to 5. but, again, none of that is verified. ith just very limited intel i'm getting that are hearing secondhand from folks on the scene. [ inaudible question ] >> absolutely. there are a lots of help here. red cross is here. the community has come out in force. i told you earlier this is a very tight-knit, very family type, family-oriented community. they are -- man, you talk about leaning on each other's shoulders, they are absolutely doing that at this point. somebody asked me earlier what will this do this to the people who don't have anywhere to go and the weather moves in and rain. i can promise you the city of
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west citizens will not let a person stand out in the rain. whether they know you, know you or not, they will bring you into their home, and you will be comfortable. that's where we are, the that's the good thing about that community. a good, strong, solid community. red cross is here, there are other agencies here, assisting mental health agencies here, counselors, grief counselors that are there. that's what's going on at the high school from my understanding. that all of those pieces of the puzzle are in place. >> there are many people who wonder how they can help? what should they do? >> stand by for the help stuff. i know that there has been an outpouring of food, water, blankets, certainly prayers at this point for this community. i have not been told of any immediate needs. the city of west is very
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self-sufficient. if there is anything they need, i can promise you, the west people will get that taken care of. i will tell you there have been businesses that i know of in waco that stayed open all night, that have been shipping supplies to us, there are restaurants that have been shipping supplies up here to the responders, to the community, to the people that have been evacuated from their homes and neighborhoods, those folks are not hurting for material needs right now, obviously, emotional issues for them, without a doubt at this point. >> are you including the three to four missing firefighters in the count? >> i don't know. i don't know if the number correlate to each other. yes, sir. >> more detail on looting of items you are aware of? >> i don't. i have heard that has occurred. i don't know that they have made arrests. it may be someone they saw in a
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home that ran, i don't have the specifics on exactly what occurred. >> how do you knowith lo itit i? >> is the national guard being brought in? >> not yet. there is not anybody who thaw has offered help if you need it from the federal government to the governor's office, a massive outpouring of help. at this point, the town is secure, there are plenty of law enforcement officials stationed around the town. there will have to be some relief at some point, because people can't stay here forever. there will be some relief at some point. dcs is here, they are state wide. brought in troops from all over the state as well. [ inaudible question ] >> one more time. >> firefighters, do they need water? >> i don't know. somebody asked me firefighters
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methods, i have no clue, other than to know that they were here, they knew it was a chemical issue, i'm still fairly confident to tell you those folks knew what they were doing, i don't know what apparatus they had. >>. [ inaudible question ] >> that threat level has dropped significantly since it started. i know last night about 10:30, that was a real threat, especially for officers in the area being very flammable, very explosive. the fire was under those tanks, and it's my understanding now, that fire is under control, and i think hence the safety of the threat level has dropped somewhat. >> sir, do you have any details on damage? >> still what i'm hearing is 50 to 75 homes, numerous
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businesses, an apartment complex, 50-unit apartment complex, lots of cars, vehicle damage, traditional concussion type damage. some homes levels, some have windows broken out. >> can you narrate how -- [ inaudible ] >> these are neighbors, they are coming to help. you will find that in texas. you will find that across the united states. we have seen that in all of these national tragedies that have occurred. we put everything aside when it comes to these types of situations. >> what is your reaction -- [ inaudible ] >> no, they call. it is my understanding that the seismic graph in amarillo registered 2.5. that is due to the explosion. as far as where all of the
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stuff, i'm not sure. yes, ma'am [ inaudible question ] >> anhydrous ammonia tanks. if you don't know what that is, it's type of fertilizer that farmers put in their crops. numerous anhydrous tanks. some of them big, some pull behind a truck. initial reports told us there may have been a tanker truck, meaning a railroad type car, one of the big railroad cars that was filled with anhydrous ammonia. >> what type of debris -- >> rain is just something they are dealing with. not been a significant issue one way or the other. >> surviving members. and we went through the presence through the night. >> i don't know that, but i can tell you, if they were here and we were aware, initial reports i
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heard that the owner or manager of the west fertilizer plant was en route. i don't know where he is, but my belief is that they will be here, they are available to assist, and i have not heard that we have put any type of lookout. obviously, they would have key information, what's there. what's in certain parts of the building. what parts of the building were there. >> do you know where he was coming from? >> i'm guessing he loves somewhere in the west community. yes, sir. >> one more time. >> swanton, s-w-a-n-t-o-n. >> inaudible question ]. >> i don't have miles, but i have heard as far as five blocks homes were leveled. >>. [ inaudible question ]
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>> is there still? certainly there is still concern. i don't think it's a significant issue at this point. not a significant concern. obviously something they are aware about. we know what's there. we know that the potential for things to reignite or for things to become explosive again, but from my understanding at that point, we're okay. all right. thanks again. i will tell you i'll be back again with you at the next briefing. hopefully at that point i can say here are the new folks you can talk to. anything significant between now and then, i will get back with you. >> patrick swanton, s-w-a-n-t-o-n. william patrick. thank you. >> okay, we just finish the a presser down in west, texas.
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the name of the town where the situation is going on. still pressing a desperate situation. we heard from sergeant swanton of the waco police. neighboring town. more facilities, helping out greatly. here are headlines, the fire is basically under control it is not out. they do not believe right now there is a risk of further explosions. it is still search and rescue, which means they are finding people that they can help and assist, it's not just about going through to recover those who didn't make it through the fire. so that's good news. that said, the sergeant couldn't give new numbers of injured, key not update numbers of those who have lost their lives. because it is a developing situation. the urgency is in finding as many as you can and not counteding at this point. firefighter, volunteer firefighters from their community. first responders on the fire. several still missing and search and rescue is to cover them, try and find them as well and the sergeant made a point no, word
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of the cause, it's being treated as a crime scene preliminarily, and the chemical component, anhydrous ammonia, aware of it, dealing with it as best they know how. no continuing risk. that was good to hear also and the community leaning on each other very hard and helping each other, and that's what's getting them through right now. those are the headlines from what's going on down in west, texas. we'll keep monitoring the situation as we stand by in boston. waiting for the interfaith procession they will have with clergy and the president. back after a break. [ male announcer ] when gloria and her financial advisor
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taking a look at live pictures now from the cathedral of the holy across. 11:00 a.m. eastern, around that time. this service will begin technically they are calling it healing our city, interfaith service.
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representatives of the major religions will participate. the president will be there. he will speak as well. the first lady will be there. we'll hear from the mayor of boston, thomas menino, and the governor, deval patrick. yo-yo ma with a musical selection. and cardinal o'malley will reflect. an hour, hour and a half service we are anticipating, starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern. chris cuomo, standing by for the service. this is one of the moments, chris, where we expect the president to emerge in an effort to comfort, not only the city and the state, but the entire country. >> i think that's right, wolf, he definitely has the nation's ear today, and certainly clergy and dignitaries, politicians, felt this was important to do. they invited him. he accepted. they want to hear the message today about what this means and
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what it doesn't mean in terms of how you let the situations affect us. how we learn and move forward. the community is going to hear that message in a very serious way today and it will resonate throughout the country. your point is exactly right. while we wait for this to begin, we are monitoring a serious situation in west, texas. fighting a massive fire overnight. a huge explosion, so powerful it registered as an earthquake. we came off a presser now, a developing situation. we want to go to martin savidge. martin, if you are with us, what is the best sense of how under control the fire is, and how much they have been able to do to make their way through the houses and how much the city is intact? >> well, daylight will help as far as doing some sort of cursory look at the damage, but as far as things being under control, quite clear that authorities feel more comfortable this morning than they did at 10:00 last night.
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fires are pretty much down to just embers, and as long as they burn, there is still concern, much less of a concern than they had. they don't believe there is the threat of explosion and no indication that there is a leak coming from the other tank of anhydrous ammonia, which would be devastating if that were the fact. so that sounds like they have the situation under control. other good news, the weather seems to be improving. temperatures dropped dramatically, rain, heavy wind pushing out of the area. that will help. on top of that, other factors, daylight, allows search and rescue teams to focus on what has to be done. cursory look, gone through the entire area that's been impacted by the blast according to authorities, but that's the initial get anybody who is still alive, get them, get them out, the obvious. now they will go back, do it methodically, slowly, carefully. still with the idea that this is search and rescue. it has not turned to recovery.
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to that end there, are concerns. firefighters, missing. but there was at least one bit of good news. an officer found alive. listen to the update we got. th. >> i know that we've had 160-plus have have been treated at our local hospitals. we know that we have several firefighters that are still missing. we have accounted for the law enforcement official. he is in the hospital in critical condition. but we're still looking for those firefighters. >> reporter: chris, you've got to worry, though, about those missing firefighters because their training would, of course, tell them to report in. if they could do that they would do that. it's possible they may be trapped and could be find alive and well. i think as passing hours go people are going to be more and more concerned these missing firefighters could be added to the number of casualties which right now authorities say ranges between 5 and 15.
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chris? >> obviously we're going to hold out hope there, martin. thank you for the latest from the ground. still a developing situation. hopefully those fires stay down without any den fit of wind and the situation starts to improve. we'll be checking back in with you on the other side of the break. wolf, back to you. >> chris, thanks very much. as we get new developments on what's going on in texas, as we await the start of the interfaith service where the president will speak, let's get the latest right now on the investigation, the aftermath of the boston marathon bombings. joining us now is juliette keim. she's cnn's homeland security analyst. columnist for the boston globe. jake tapper has been watching what's going on. they seem to be making pretty significant progress. there are all these reports out there that there are two individuals. i don't know if we can call them suspects. but they're narrowing in on these two individuals who were seen on this videotape. >> that's exactly right. the information is trickling in. we haven't had a formal statement from the government or any of the investigators for
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quite a while. that would mean that they are not prepared to tell the public where they are. either because the trail is very hot and why sort of stop that investigation or it means that the trail is cold and they're trying to figure out how best to engage the public. right now we are in a holding pattern. the information that has come out has been the result of the investigation tactics that were used on monday and tuesday which was anyone who has a camera, anyone who has an iphone, any store that has a film, give it to us. then putting the pieces together. so that's where we are right now. every person here has said this may be a long investigation. cannot make it clear that the most important thing is solid evidence, the right person, and a guilty verdict. that's all that matters to them. in that sense they're in no hurry. >> the fbi and local law enforcement, they have not released the images of these two -- these two people. >> no. >> who were near the finishing line carrying these bags. >> that's exactly.
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they're being careful in that sense. >> why wouldn't they release those pictures? >> either they're not sure -- once you call someone a suspect in this it has a lot of implications for them and then for others who might be apt to act on it. you don't do that casually. >> you don't want to spear someone needlessly. >> right. you also -- look, if they came out with picturing and it's not them our sense of the competency of this investigation would be undermined. so that's the slowness of getting it out. just there really -- the focus now is on the investigation because unfortunately the -- the attack has already happened. you're not going to go back to april 14th. in that sense they're just being methodical in terms of what they're going to release at this stage. >> jake, i know you've been spending a lot of time talking to people here in boston. they clearly have been shaken by what happened on monday. >> it's definitely a city that's still on edge. people wanting to go about their day and return to some sort of sense of normnormalcy. as one bostonian put it, however
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much there is a desire to heal, there are still too many people in the intensive care unit. there's a crime scene in the middle of back bay. and whoever is responsible is still out there. so very much the individuals, the bostonians with whom we've spoken are on edge. and very, very unsettled. >> it's sort of like, you know, people are trying to get back to normal as you point out, but in the back of their minds they're wondering, could this happen again? >> the other thing is, this is the first nice week of weather boston's had all year. normally the parks would be packed. but they're not. because a lot of people are very worried about going to places where crowds would congregate. you can see the direct result of what happened monday on the events going on here today. >> you live here. what's it like? >> it's strange. i mean, this -- this is really normally the sort of center of boston. >> this area behind us right here. >> this intersection and where that tent is. it's essentially just sort of closing off the center of it. but people are getting back to normal. it was a school vacation week this week.
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so we'll see what next week is like in terms of people coming back to work and school. but i do have to say i think the -- the sort of calm tone that the leadership, we even had menino coming out of the hospital -- >> the mayor. >> yes, excuse me, the mayor coming out of the hospital has probably been very good for bostonians in terms of regrouping and sort of learning from what happened. so we'll see, you know, as the investigation unfolds if there's a capture. i think there'll be a real big sense of relief. >> there is a killer or killers on the loose right now. that obviously could upset a lot of folks, especially in this area. jake, talk about the president a little bit. you spent a lot of time covering him. we're getting ready to hear his words at the cathedral of the holy cross. this is a moment the whole country will be watching and listening. >> that's right. we all remember president clinton after the bombing of the federal building in oklahoma city. that was a big moment in his presidency where he was calling upon the nation to heal. >> a lot of people think it was
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the turning point in that first term and helped him get re-elected. >> this a moment for that kind of soaring oratory and president obama no doubt has been working with his speech writers on what exactly is the right message to convey. we heard from jessica yellin, your senior white house correspondent earlier today, he'll be talking not only about the three victims killed in these attacks but also the heroics as we've been covering all week, wolf. there were some incredible stories of bravery. people running from this medical tent into the attack. into the smoke. to help people. and juliette and i were just talking about this. if it weren't for the quick actions of all these first responders the casualty count would have been much, much worse. >> we're seeing similar heroic actions in texas right now. people just rushing to the scene wanting to help. >> i wish i could say it's the same. the challenge in texas, although you do see that -- that sense of wanting to help in texas right now, is when an event happens in the middle of the night, you
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don't have the resources sort of available. the marathon we had the benefit of having the doctors and the police officers and everyone surging to the event. you just don't have what we call the surge capacity in a more sort of isolated area like what we're seeing in texas. that is going to be a challenge on the response side as we see what unfolds. >> we're getting ready to hear from the president. we're getting ready to hear from religious leaders in boston, this interfaith service will begin at 11:00 a.m. eastern or so. we're also watching the after-effects of the explosion that occurred at that fertilizer plant in west, texas. much more of our special coverage coming up. we went out and asked people a simple question: how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed: the official retirement age.
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arrival. with hertz gold plus rewards, you skip the counters, the lines, and the paperwork. zap. it's our fastest and easiest way to get you into your car. it's just another way you'll be traveling at the speed of hertz. good morning. i'm wolf blitzer in boston.
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we're following several, several breaking news stories. it's a remarkable morning of news. we'd like to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we have two major stories we're following right now. first, our truly disastrous, almost jaw dropping explosion in texas. the second story, president obama is in boston this morning as we get ready for an interfaith service honoring the victims. investigators may, repeat, may be closing in on those behind the terror attack at the boston marathon on monday. chris cuomo is joining us. he's outside the cathedral of the holy cross. chris? >> wolf, the bells are ringing here as we await the service to begin. we're waiting on the president to come here. there's still a line of people trying to get in as they get situated. the church holds 2,000 people. 1,000 of those seats will be for the general public, first come, first serve. because of the urgency in the situation in the tiny town of
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west, texas, 3,000 people, let's get back down there. since 7:00 last night their time, 7:30, they have been fighting to keep their town. let's get to martin savidge. martin, you're down there. what's the latest word? i know they've been looking for some volunteer firefighters. anything on them or other rescues? >> reporter: they have been looking for them. and they have not as yet found them. at least not according to the latest briefing we've had from authorities. there was one law enforcement/firefighter. he has been found. however, he's found alive in a hospital now in critical condition. but the other firefighters that are missing and the numbers they talk about there maybe three, maybe five, these would be first responders, those who first went into those flames and then felt the immediate impact of that terrible, terrible blast. some positives. daylight, it's going to aid the efforts. search and rescue still ongoing. weather that was affecting the search now has moved out of the area. so the fires have been contained. any possibility of a leak, that is also said to be under
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control. the threat of that anhydrous ammonia seems to have been decreased. let's take a look at just how bad it was last night. >> stunning video. the west fertilizer plant in the small town of west, texas, about 20 miles from waco, exploding. the blast and the massive fire that followed, leaving dozens of homes and buildings heavily damaged or destroyed. the town's mayor telling cnn what it felt like. >> i just never have seen an explosion like that. it just was a ball of fire. went up, looked like a nuclear bomb. big old mushroom cloud. >> reporter: the blast was so strong it registered as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake. >> we need every unit we can get in this place. a bomb just went off inside here. it's pretty bad. >> reporter: half of the town's 2,600 residents were forced to
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evacuate. officials concerned about potentially deadly gas fumes and a second fertilizer tank that could also explode. people living near the plant feared for their lives. >> when it exploded, we all just hit the ground and i was trying to cover up my daughter because it was a lot of debris flying. then after that, it was just basically search and rescue. >> reporter: the smoldering fire and fumes prevented rescue workers from getting near the plant. officials say the blast area resembles a war zone. >> massive. just like iraq. just like the murray building in oklahoma city. same kind of anhydrous exploded. so you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking at there. >> reporter: and authorities say that they have completed the first kind of cursory look through the entire damage area. now they're going to go back over that same area in daylight and more methodically go house to house. also, it's been reported there have been some instances, apparently, of looting.
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it is not said to be extensive. chris? >> all right. we did hear from the presser that they do have extensive police presence there now from surrounding towns, so hopefully they can keep it safe. some good news comes out of those rescues. 50 to 60 homes were heavily damaged. a four square block area. that just shows you how big a situation they're dealing with in tiny west, texas. george howell is monitoring the situation from the hospitals. what's the latest from there? >> reporter: chris, here at hillcrest hospital they've set up a place where they're giving the media, giving us new information. we now know as we stated earlier, at least 101 people -- this hospital saw the most patients. 101 people. we know most of them were treated and released. we also now know 28 patients are still in this hospital receiving treatment. the hospital also received two pediatric trauma patients. there was a lot of talk, chris, about this nursing home that was near that plant.
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several people in that nursing home. we know 12 people were brought to this hospital. they have been treated, discharged and sent to alternative nursing homes. but, you know, when you talk about what happened to these people, we're talking about bruises, we're talking about the possibility of burning. we spoke with glen robinson who told us exactly what they're dealing with. let's listen. >> we have seen as you would expect in this type of blast, a lot of lacerations. some small, some large. some puncture wounds. our orthopedic trauma team have also been taking care of a number of broken bones and dislocated hips and fractured hips, fractured legs, those types of things. we have also -- our neurosurgical trauma team has taken care of a handful of patients that have had head injuries. >> reporter: so, chris, you know, it's a lot of information here. but i want to tick through this list because there are several different hospitals. not only hillcrest but also
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providence, a nearby hospital. they saw 65 patients. also at scott & white. that's the level one trauma center for this region. they saw five patients. two of them children in critical condition. we also note three adults. two of those adults in critical condition, one in stable condition. also parkland hospital in dallas. keep in mind, they have one of the state's best burn units. two patients were sent there. we do not know their conditions, but we're keeping on top of the numbers of injuries. so far, chris, the number that i count is 173 so far. this is a fluid situation. obviously investigators are going house by house, door to door, looking for people. and i want to add this one thing. the temperature has dropped substantially. martin talked about the weather change since the system moved through 20, 30 degree difference than what we felt earlier. it's uncomfortable out here. certainly that will not get in the way of investigators doing their job to go and find any survivors. >> that's what we heard. that the search and rescue is
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still going on. george, thank you for monitoring. we'll come back to you. 170-plus injuries in a town of less than 3,000. it's a devastating chunk of that population. the good news that we heard, though, is that we're not hearing about more exposure to anhydrous ammonia, that deadly chemical down there used for the fertilizer. that's good news to hear. wolf, back to you. >> we're going to get more on that, chris. stand by for a moment. the texas national guard is now monitoring the air in and around that town of west, texas. it's about 20 miles or so outside of waco. it's not clear how many people have been exposed to that kind of ammonia gas. it's a gas that is used to make fertilizer at that huge fertilizer plant. but its fumes can be suffocating. in fact, can even be deadly and can cause blisters, chemical burns as it makes -- as it mixes with water in the body. the ammonia, the type of ammonia there at that fertilizer plant
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poses a major fire risk as well. in fact, timothy mcveigh used a similar chemical gleaned from fertilizer in the 1995 oklahoma city bombing of the murray federal office building. even so, chemicals at the west, texas, plant -- officials at the west, texas, plant told officials that the ammonia at the facility wasn't, wasn't a fire risk. at least for now. according to the dallas morning news, a report filed with the federal agency says the worst case scenario at the facility would be a ten-minute gas release that wouldn't hurt anyone. meanwhile, our affiliate wfaa reports that the plant was fined back in 2006 for having an inadequate risk management plan in place. let's talk a little bit more about all of this with our senior medical correspondent, elizabeth cohen. first of all, hospitals.
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west, texas. small town. under 3,000 people. not far from waco where they do have some significant hospitals. here in boston, for example, there are major hospitals within a few miles of the bombing that occurred. bombings that occurred. it's different there. >> it is a very different situation, wolf. we're standing right where the marathon bombs went off. there are six level one trauma centers within two miles of us. six within two miles. in texas, these people had to travel 23 miles to the hospital in texas, hillcrest. that is not a level one trauma center. it's a center that practices for mass casualties, that drills for it, but it's not level one and it's just one hospital. the contrast really couldn't be greater. >> talk a little bit about this type of ammonia gas that potentially could be deadly, but could cause some serious problems. >> right. if you breathe in a high enough concentration of it, it can kill you very, very quickly. hopefully what happened here was that the wind and the weather conditions made it dissipate. and so hopefully these people were breathing in lower
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concentrations and hopefully go >> by the way, air force one is arriving here in boston carrying the president, the first lady and several of their guests who will be coming to this interfaith service. go ahead. >> if these people got out of there, got to fresher air, breathed in lower concentrations, know some of them had eye irritation, they have may have had nose and throat irritation, hopefully nothing more than that. if that's all it is they're not going to suffer long lasting effects. >> the best treatment? >> fresh air and water. there's no actual medicinal -- >> drinking water? >> drinking water to flush it out. there's no antidote, per se. >> weather could be a factor in the search and rescue operation. elizabeth, now to severe weather actually coming in, right? >> that's right. you know, we have seen some stronger storms moving across west, texas. right now we're still looking at lingering showers across areas
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like west, texas, as well as waco. winds right now 22 miles per hour. as elizabeth mentioned, the winds were around gusty at times. that does help with the mixing. the rain has really been the beneficial part, of course, helping with the fire burning there. keep in mind as we go through the morning hour over about the next hour or two we will start to see more of those showers really coming to an end. the biggest change with the wind coming out of the northwest, that, of course, is going to send that wind flow down towards the southeast. we're going to see a shift. you can still see a lot of that lightning has come to an end. we go through the rest of the day and it looks like we might be heading back over to wolf. >> interrupt for a second, jennifer. we're seeing the president now, air force one has landed here in boston. we see the governor going up, governor deval patrick, to meet with the president and others who are -- who have come from washington aboard air force one to participate in this interfaith service, it's called.
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the official term is healing our city, an interfaith service at the cathedral of the holy cross. it will be an emotional 60 minutes or 90 minutes with major leaders from various religions participating. including musical collection performed by yo yo ma. we'll hear from the president and others. we'll continue our extensive coverage right after this. [ female announcer ] a classic meatloaf recipe from stouffer's
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pictures of the cathedral of the holy cross. less than an hour from now this interfaith service will begin. the president of the united states with the first lady, they will be here. they have landed, air force one has landed, here in boston. they'll be coming over with a group of dignitaries. several former governors of massachusetts will also be in the audience including the former governor mitt romney who will be here as well. the service will include moving remarks not only from the president, but the boston mare thor, thomas menino, governor of massachusetts, deval patrick. we'll hear from cardinal shawn o'malley. we'll also hear from religious leaders, local religious leaders as well as this service begins. it is a time of healing in boston, in massachusetts, indeed in the country as we await the start of this service. chris cuomo is over there at the cathedral getting ready to watch and to listen as all of us are. chris? >> that's right, wolf.
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as we wait for this to begin, at the same time there is a massive government investigation going on, trying to figure out who did this and why. 30 government agencies, thousands of people working here and abroad. we are taking two different angles on how the investigation is progressing. first we're going to go to joe johns who has the latest on what we're hearing from the head of homeland security. joe? >> chris, this is an ongoing story that started sometime yesterday, and it's a question of whether authorities are going to release pictures that they've obtained and they deem important, including of a couple individuals. and what we know is there is ongoing internal debate as to whether to release publicly these pictures in an effort to try to get the individuals in the pictures identified and, perhaps, talk with them. they're not being described as suspects. now, what we want to do is just go to a little bit of sound from
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homeland security secretary janet napolitano talking about these issues that people in boston are debating right now. let's listen. >> we have been collecting video from a variety of sources. as you might imagine at the finish line of the boston marathon, there's -- there's lots and lots of video. there is some video that has raised the question of those that the fbi would like to speak with. i wouldn't characterize them as suspects under the technical term. but we need the public's help in locating these individuals. >> so typically in cases like these, of course, the big question is whether releasing video, releasing pictures of individuals at the scene of crimes will hinder or help the investigation. and certainly that is what's going into this right now. authorities on the ground in
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boston telling me no decision has been made, but they are weighing releasing the pictures. chris? >> it's a tough question, joe, because on the one side of the scale, you have -- it could be tremendously helpful. someone could see them. there's a lot of speculation that whoever did this had been situated here for some time. but on the other side, to falsely attach somebody to a crime of this nature would be so prejudicial. it's a very difficult call. have to see what happens there. we're also going to go to debra feyerick right now. she's looking at the fbi's side of this and what they're trying to do to piece together who may have done this. deb, what's the latest? >> reporter: one thing we do want to add to joe johns' reporting. one thing the fbi wants, they want to be able to identify these individuals on their own. that's always the preference in any investigation. kr you don't release a photo until you've run everything else down and can't find them on their own. the fbi has, indeed, made progress on that front. i was talking to somebody, a
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source that receives regular updates on what's going on. what i'm being told is investigators are reviewing surveillance video not just from the marathon, but from the weeks before the marathon. the weeks leading up to that event. they want to see if anybody walked the finish line route, whether anybody may have been casing it to see what was accessible, what was not accessible. clearly, it's somebody who has been isolated from the crowd is seen in the week prior, clearly that would be a big lead. chris, what you've got is you've got teams of investigators. they are brainstorming every single possibility to see whether that might lead them in a particular direction. you know, they want to know, did the bombs go off as timed, as planned? that would suggest was the person or persons, were they aiming for first responders or were they just targeting a soft target? all those kinds of things that they look at. also, they want to know, for example, were there people in the crowd, other people that are known as shadows.
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people who may have been communicating information. that's why so many of these pictures, you know, you think about this huge montage of pictures, layer upon layer upon layer. that's what all the investigators are looking at. you've got also, chris, the forensic teams. they're going through the evidence. they're look agent ting at the patterns. a trk atf, they're so good at determining where the bomb came from, the direction it took. that's crucial. we've been showing a picture of this bag, almost like a grocery bag that was on one side of the divider. then it was moved to the other side of the divider. people i'm speaking to, they're telling me stay away from that. that doesn't look right. because the blast pattern if you look at the metal railing, it blows into the mailbox. if that bag, that plastic bag, that paper bag had been the source of the device, then the railing would have blown in the other direction. again, they've got to look at everything and parse it out and
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think about rethink and figure out what each individual frame means. that's what's going on now. this is going to be an excruciating investigation. chris? >> all right, deb, thank you very much. at the same time that they're trying to find who did this, people are coming together here for an interfaith service called healing our city. we're looking at a live picture right now. air force one as president obama and the first lady prepare to come and join the city for this service. wolf? >> all right, chris. standby. let's get a little analysis as we wait for the president to walk down those stairs from air force one together with the first lady. joining us now, our cnn law enforcement analyst, the former assistant fbi director, tom fuentes. also joining us from the new america foundation, senior research fellow film specialist on counterterrorism and intelligence formally with the cia. tom fuentes, first to you. let's talk a little about this
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investigation. as the governor of massachusetts, deval patrick said to me yesterday, we're all used to watching these kinds of dramas on tv whether "csi" or whatever. we expect very quick results. doesn't always happen like that. this could take a while, this investigation, right? >> that's true, wolf. you know, they want to be very meticulous and deliberative in how they put out information, especially public information about someone or someones that they're looking for to talk to. they've had problems in the past if someone's been characterized as a suspect either by law enforcement or by the media. >> by the way, let me interrupt for a second. that's mitt romney -- tom, hold on. mitt romney, former governor, former republican presidential nominee. he's here at the cathedral of the holy cross for this interfaith service as well. go ahead. >> they want to make sure that they've released to the public information that won't interfere with the investigation and then also when they apprehend a suspect down the line and try to
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prosecute somebody, they don't want the case to be prejudiced. if it turns out that the person is not involved in this, then they don't want to have an issue with that person being improperly or illegally characterized as a suspect in an investigation. especially one of this magnitude if it turns out they were not involved in it. so at this point they're being very deliberate to say these are a couple of individuals they would like to locate and talk to and try to get information, what they've seen more or less as witnesses. and they do not want them calmed suspects either by law enforcement or by the media. that's why the reluctance on the part of law enforcement to publicly release the photos. and the reluctance on the part of the media to not get caught up in releasing them. >> here comes the president and the first lady. they're walking down the stairs of air force one. they'll be coming over to the cathedral of the holy cross here in boston to participate in this interfaith service together with others, the mayor, the governor,
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and other dignitaries will be there. as will religious leaders of the major faiths here in the united states. we'll keep these pictures up as we continue the conversation. this is an investigation that not only has to look at the possibility for domestic terrorism, but international or foreign terrorism as well. and it's a complex environment, but aided dramatically by all the video that has been made available. >> i think that's right. i think this is going to raise a debate long term in america like the debates we had on gun control in the wake of events that were so tragic in the past year or so. people are initially going to say, hey, look at the advantage you get in this 21st century environment where you have surveillance cameras everywhere. an environment that the europeans, by the way, are way ahead of us on. a lot more surveillance in europe than there is here. i suspect over the course of a month or two or three months americans will step back and say, hey, that might have aided that investigation but we're not sure we want to live in that kind of security culture.
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>> and we can't draw, phil, any hard conclusions about one of these bombs was in a pressure cooker. that's obviously available very easily. you can't draw any conclusions whether that's a signature of a domestic or a foreign terrorist. >> actually, i would draw conclusions. but more about what it's not than what it is. when you look at the people i faced for a couple decades, that is terrorists inspired by al qaeda, they after 9/11 went to bombs that were much more sophisticated. explosives were more sophisticated. they received training that was pretty advanced. they selected targets that were harder than this target. i would argue more iconic. that is transportation targets that are recognizable worldwide. in this case you've got folks who selected a very soft target. very primitive devices. and a target that i don't think is iconic globally even though it is in the united states. >> phil and tom, both of you
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stand by. we're awaiting the president and the first lady. they're going to be heading over from air force one over to the cathedral of the holy cross. we'll watch the interfaith service in its entirety here on cnn. our special coverage will continue right after this. many people are struggling with issues related to mental health. by earning a degree in the field of counseling or psychology from capella university, you'll have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others.
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healing our city, an interfaith service, will begin right at the top of the hour. you're looking at pictures, live pictures coming from from the cathedral of the holy cross here in boston. the president and the first lady, they will be making their way here. they've just landed aboard air force one in boston. they're coming over to participate in this interfaith service. we will be hearing from clergy
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representing all the major faiths here in united states. also remarks from the boston mayor, the massachusetts governor, and the president of the united states. musical selection performed by yo-yo ma as well. this is going to be a moving 60 to 90 minutes. the governor told me, chris cuomo, yesterday it could last an hour, could last an hour and a half. maybe even more. but it is part of the effort to heal this city, heal this state and, indeed, heal the nation. >> and the hope is that the effects of today last long, long past the hours of the service. one of the people who'll be speaking, they said, who will use unity and community to combat cruelty and violence. that is the collective prayer all will have in this city and around the country as everyone's going to be watching what happens here as boston gets back on its feet. at the same time that we're waiting for this ceremony here to begin, in the small town of
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west, texas, they are dealing with a very dire situation. just 3,000 people in this town dealing with a massive fire, an explosion at a fertilizer factory. we know there are injuries. we haven't heard about any new waves of them. but well over 150 we've heard so far. search and rescue is continuing. we have dr. sanjay gupta on the phone. you're looking at live pictures right now of what's going on down there. some good weather and a lot of great fire fighting since 7:30 local time last night has reduced the flames. they say they're mostly embers now. some are getting wind whipped and they have to keep addressing it. there was a massive explosion. they don't believe there's a risk of another one. that's the good news, it seems to be getting better. what remains to be seen is exactly what the human toll was down there. now, i believe, sanjay, are you on the phone with us? you're on your way to texas? >> yeah. i'm on my way to texas, chris. you're absolutely right. we're hearing the same thing. one of the things we've really been paying attention to as well is obviously the concern about
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chemicals. and i can tell you at least from what we're hearing from authorities on the ground, there does not appear to be any out of control chemical escape. which is good news. i will tell you, chris, we talked about this last night. one of the things i worry about is something known as ammonia. that is something that's typically inert, meaning it's not volatile. if it's combined with fuel or in this case a fire it can actually be quite explosive. that was a large concern. but we're hearing that the gases were turned off and that there's not an out of control chemical. chris, you and i have been talking about what's happened in boston all week. you know, when you talk about explosions, we talked about the concern about a primary blast and then a secondary blast with regard to shrapnel. here you're dealing with a few other factors. the fire, obviously, buildings that have been flatten. so people who may be trapped
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inside of there. again, the chemical concerns which appear to have been allayed at this point. that's what they're dealing with. like row said, we're on -- we're going to be going there to try and see what's happening for ourselves and investigate some of this. >> well, good luck going down there. be safe, doc. especially when we don't really know what the condition is, especially with that anhydrous ammonia. they are giving us better signals and indications on the ground. they have had people injured early on. since then we haven't heard much. good luck, sanjay. thanks for talking to us right now. wolf, back over to you. as we're waiting here, the lines have abated. everybody's inside. security's in place. we're waiting now for the president and the first lady. the crowd expected to be waiting so that the service can begin. >> i think there's room for about 2,000 people, chris, inside that cathedral of the holy cross. when they open it up completely,
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as they have done today. is that the information you're getting as well? >> 1,000 designated for officials. we have four former massachusetts governors who will be here. jane swift, mitt romney, william well, then michael due dukakis. as well as first responders. a big reason the city made it through this was because of those early actions by people who put their lives on the line. then the other 1,000 seats were open to the public. they were lining up since 4:00 this morning to get in there first come, first served, wolf. >> it will be an emotional service, i'm convinced as well. brooke baldwin is standing by right outside brigham & women's hospital here in boston. brooke, you've been speaking with some people there. tell us the story, some of the stories that you're seeing and you're hearing. because especially now only moments away from the start of this interfaith service, these are emotional moments.
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>> reporter: wolf, fwogood morn. as the president will be speaking today about hope and heroism and he's meeting with some of these first responders, i met one of the heroes last night. he is a 41-year veteran with the boston fire department. he is charlie buchanan jr., engine 24 here in boston. i tell you, grown man talking to me through tears last night. he was feet away from the second explosion on monday. and when everyone was running away, he was running in. the first little body he saw was that of 8-year-old martin richard. and he is the one who pulled the sheet over his face out of respect for this little boy and his family. and right next to martin was his little 6-year-old sister, her leg blown off. he talks about that moment with me. >> we stopped an ambulance. the ambulance was full. but we said, you have to take this girl. and they were great. they were boston ems.
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this firefighter said, you know, she needs a tourniquet. we got a tourniquet small enough to -- i mean, her leg is as big as your arm. all right? so they put her inside the -- the ambulance. but as you say, the only thing that i could see and see to this day are her little eyes looking up at me. that's it. all right? and me thinking -- thinking about my own grandson, malakai. my malakai is the same age as this young girl who is 6 years old. who is -- first thing he did was give me a big hug when i went home. >> reporter: so you're thinking of malakai as you're looking into this little girl's eyes. you describe this day as a bad day, charlie. you've been doing this for 40 years. >> yes, ma'am. >> reporter: was it the worst day you've ever seen? >> reporter: it's the worst day in my career, yes, it is. you know, i can still see this little girl.
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i still see the little boy. >> reporter: charlie told me he's not sleeping at night. he's now off duty getting counseling. but he told me really he's able to function because of his family, because of these firefighters, band of brothers. you know, this is a tight knit family here in boston, wolf. it's even his brother-in-law who's a boston cop who's on the cover of "sports illustrated," the one word, "boston." charlie told me the nation will learn from monday's tragedy, he told me, boston will heal. boston will move on. wolf? >> certainly will. and this interfaith service that begins right at the top of the hour will hopefully help in that process. i'm just looking at the program for the service. and it is -- it clearly includes the clergy from the major faiths. reverend liz walker from the roxbury presbyterian.
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the reverend nancy taylor of the old south church. rabbi ronnie friedman. bishop john borders, morningstar baptist church. cardinal shawn o'malley, the catholic archbishop, the cardinal here in boston. also hear from the president of the united states. we're awaiting the start of this interfaith service. our coverage will continue. [ female announcer ] a classic meatloaf recipe from stouffer's starts with ground beef, onions and peppers baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care, for you or your family.
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flexpen® is insulin delivery my way. covered by most insurance plans, including medicare. find your co-pay cost at ask your health care provider about novolog® flexpen today ♪ everybody's getting ready inside the cathedral of the holy cross here in boston. 2,000 seats inside. it's a catholic church, of course, but this is an interfaith service we're having today. it's called healing our city. there'll be religious leaders from all different denominations and faiths will be here. long lines this morning since 4:00 this morning to be in there for this city to have a chance to hold each other and feel the
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pain that they've lived through and find the resolve to move forward. resolve the word that the president has been using to kind of capture where we need to be at this time as a nation. as we wait for president obama to come here, everybody expecting, waiting outside. i'm chris cuomo. i'm joined here by jessica yellin and john king. jessica, you have new information about what the president has been up to. >> the president as you know landed wr eed just a short time. he's juggling two major issues at once. he placed calls in relation to the crisis in texas right now. he called the governor of texas first to extend his sympathies and say the sympathies of the nation are with the people of texas. also to reassure them he issued a disaster declaration overnight. extend any federal resources and tried to connect with the mayor there. i'm told the president was awakened very, very early, at least was told very, very early this morning about that disaster, about the fire in
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texas. he's also been working on the flight separately on his remarks here. you know, he likes to rewrite and tinker himself. and so he spent some time thinking about what he wanted to say and updating it. again, it'll be very heavily about american resilience and how we remember the people who were lost. and as a nation, we move on. we don't stop for terror. >> john, obviously the president has his own connection to boston. not just as leader of the nation but he went to school here. politically, you can say this isn't a political event but all events are when you're president of the united states. how do you balance message on a day like this with being strong and being soft and comforting? not easy. >> it's not easy for the president. it's not easy also for the members of the political leadership here in massachusetts. an interesting time for the president. he lost a big vote on gun control yesterday. in the middle of a very polarizing immigration debate. he needs to leave that aside. the washington polarized politics aside. he's getting help here. mitt romney his opponent in the last election will be in this room. you'll have the former democratic governor michael dukakis. also several other former
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massachusetts republican governs. jane swift and bill well. these are political leaders coming together. we may argue about other things, we may argue about policy, but it's time for the community to come together and heal. it's a very interesting time for the president to give a message to this community and to the untri and to the world. we don't know exactly what happened. we don't know why it happened. the president wants to say we'll get to the bottom of this. we're also going to help you. we're going to help the community heal, help the families put their lives back together. it's an interesting time in the sense that governor patrick has taken the lead more than mayor menino. the mayor has try. he had health issues recently. came out of the hospital for some of the conferences. you haven't seen him in the neighborhoods. he's a hands-on mayor for 20 years. he's not running for re-election. there's a giant splintered field running against him. a day of unity, healing, saying whatever your personal politics, whatever the debates we will have in the hours or days after this event, this is -- it's a symbol, a very important symbol. all the faiths represented, all the political parties represented. to say we all stand with you as you deal with this terrible
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tragedy. >> and this is one of the environments, you noknow, the president excels in. he's very good speaker. he's also able to reach for those words that bring people together. he flew in with vicky kennedy, the widow of senator ted kennedy. nobody symbolizes both massachusetts history and, you know, sort of the spirit of what american resilience can be than the kennedy tradition, whatever your party. that's something that really connects. >> there's nothing like tragedy to really refocus on what matters. you know, it is the pain of perspective. and it gives you an opportunity to come in as partisan as everything is right now, maybe about as bad as we've seen it in recent history, and drop all of it. obviously the regret is always why does it take occasions like this for us to come together in a way that we should always be? at least we do have this moment, wolf. we're looking forward to hear what the president says and cardinal and everybody else and hopefully the sentiment lasts a long time, the one that's passed
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through today, wolf. >> i have no doubt, chris, the mood will be inspiring. the words that we hear from the clergy, all the various faiths represented, the words we hear from the president, the governor, the mayor, obviously will be very, very powerful. emotion emotional, given what's happened in boston here over the past few days. in addition to the musical selection by the cellist yo-yo ma, we'll hear from the boston children's chorus. they will be performing "up to the mountain." this is going to be a powerful hour. maybe hour and a half. and our special coverage of this interfaith service will begin right at the top of the hour. copd makes it hard to breathe...
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looking at live pictures from inside the cathedral of the holy cross. this interfaith service getting ready within the next few minutes to begin. we'll hear music, we'll hear words, certainly hear from the president of the united states. as we await their arrival, about 2,000 people have gathered inside, including distinguished visitors, survivors, family members from the boston marathon bombings. others as well including first responders. the former republican presidential nominee, former governor of massachusetts, mitt romney is inside as well with his family. he's here with other former governors of massachusetts. juliette kayyem is here, our homeland security analyst, columnist for "the boston globe." jake tapper is here, anchor for "the lead." the last -- >> november 29th mitt romney came to the white house.
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had a private meal with president obama, a lunch in the private dining room. they talked about the future of the country. they had a conversation that was pretty much kept off the record. and talking about romney talking about ideas he had for the country and things he wanted to have done had he been elected. this will be the first time they've been together since that moment. it's moments like these that really put aside partisan labels. and you have democrats, republicans, coming together and not even thinking about politics. >> no politics on this day. mitt romney is there. there are democrats, republicans, but they're bostonians, they're people from massachusetts. first and foremost, their hearts go out to those who have suffered. >> today is about obviously remembering what happened monday. but it's also, i sort of also view it as preparing people for what might happen in the days and weeks to come. the reason why you want a united front of right, left, center and all denominations and all backgrounds in boston is eventually someone's going to be caught or some people. they might be from some group or
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another. they might be from the right or the left. we don't know. i think that this message of having everyone come together and say, you know what? it really doesn't matter. this happened. we're together as a community. whoever did this is not going to sort of separate all of us. i really think this has symbolism for the future. >> the president's words, i'm sure he's worked hard on his speech that he's going to be delivering. his regular speech writer, john fabros, no longer on the payroll over there at the white house. although they might have called him in to help with a few paragraphs. >> he has a new speech writer. but president obama likes to think of himself as his own best speech writer. >> he's very good at it. >> he tinkers with these things up until the very last moment. so i'm sure on air force one he was writing it. i'm sure in the car he's writing it. this is an important moment for any president. we talked about this earlier about how a lot of people credit president clinton, his presidency having turned around. it was in a bad political projectry when he offered his speech after the bombing in oklahoma city. this is an important moment for
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president obama. people want him to rise to the occasion. people on the left and right. >> which reminds me not that long ago when he was in newtown, connecticut, at that interfaith service as well. >> i think that's -- this president has unfortunately had a lot of opportunities to give speeches like this. just given the nature of what's happened over hurricane sandy, over the last couple of years. and so he's good at this and he knows -- he knows people want to hear his message. because he -- he is the leader of this country. so it will be an important day. i think then whatever happens in the next couple of days or weeks in terms of an investigation and a trial, which is all going to happen here, i think the city is ready for it. >> the president is there. you can see him at this cathedral as he gets ready to -- this service getting ready to begin. just think about this for a moment. jake, he's got so much on his mind, on his plate right now in addition to what's happened in boston. now what's happened in texas. these ricin letters, supposedly,
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that have been sent to him and a united states senator. a major setback on gun control yesterday in the u.s. senate. he's got budget issues. there's a lot on his plate. and there's national security issues out there as well. >> you see why presidents age differently than the rest of us when you look at pictures of george w. bush at the beginning of his presidency and at the end, it seems like much more than eight years passed by. >> so he's meeting with some of the dignitaries who are there, some of the family members. some who have suffered so much. the president will take his seat. this service will begin, and it will begin, we are told, with music. "praise to the lord, the almighty." and then welcoming remarks and opening prayer by the reverend liz walker of the roxbury presbyterian church. everyone will listen. everyone will pray. and everyone will hope for the best as we watch this cathedral. hopefully folks coming together
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and hopefully the nation coming together as well. this is one of those moments so many people will remember and reflect upon. it will be a powerful, a powerful moment. look at how majestic, jake, that cathedral is. this is the cathedral of the holy cross, obviously a catholic -- a catholic church. but representatives of other faiths, they will have prominent roles here, includiing protestants, jews, muslim. others will be here as well. >> just to get some background on the cathedral, it's the mother church of the roman catholic archdiocese of boston. it's in the south end neighborhood of the city. it was designed by the 19th century irish-american, patrick keeley. and the reason it is where it is, in 1860 bishop john fitzpatrick realized boston had outgrown the cathedral on
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franklin street, so they moved it. about 2,000 people can sit in this cathedral. >> they're just beginning. chris cuomo is over there. chris, cardinal shawn o'malley will also address this group. his remarks are called reflection. >> yes. the cardinal will be here. he's going to give the blegsz at the end of the service here. that's going to be big for the community. obviously the cardinal beloved here and made a great name for himself in rome where as a franciscan in his brown habit he was walking around and was part of the discussion of the papacy which was the first for an american cardinal. obviously new york's cardinal timothy dolan was also being mentioned. but today is cardinal o'malley's day. it's important that everybody's here, wolf. that's the thing. 2,000 inside. millions outside. all of one heart and one mind on this day.
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and that's what it's all about and have the president here means even more, obviously. >> it will wrap up with "america the beautiful" which i think is appropriate for this very special day here in boston. coming awe ining only a few daye boston marathon ended with those two bombings, killing three people, injuring more than -- almost 200 people. and many of them remain in critical condition in a hospital -- at hospitals here, including young kids. awful, awful injuries as a result of those bombs that went off. we'll be reflecting and we'll be praying as we get ready for the start of this service. its official title, "healing our city: an interfaith service," right over there at the cathedral of the holy cross. one of those days a lot of us will always remember. april 18th, 2013, a moment of reflection.
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a moment of prayer. and a moment to remember. remember those three, three people who were killed. an 8-year-old boy. 29-year-old woman. and a 23-year-old graduate student, jake, from china. this is the processional as it begins. and this service will take place. >> and, in fact, for that chinese graduate student, we're told that the state department is expediting the visa procedure so her family can come to the united states and in a quick manner. the tragic, tragic circumstance. juliette, you live here and you're going to watch and pray along with us. i think the service is about to begin. let's listen in.