tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN May 15, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
>> quickly, joe, we have to run. >> these gr programs. >> thank you all for tonight. >> thank you for getting my sense of humor. >> you're welcome. >> i'm don lemon. that's it for us. ac 360 starts right now. hey, good evening, thank you for joining us. we begin tonight with breaking news from southern california where wildfires are threatening thousands of homes and have burned about 10,000 acres so far. dozens of fires raging overnight is now down to eight fires, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes, and amid the chaos people are capturing very intense pictures that really tell the story of what it is like across san diego county. take a look at this. >> wow, there it is right there! there it is right there!
creating its own weather system. here is video of one of the firenados that formed a swirling fire ball that indicates the intense conditions the firefighters are dealing with as they try desperately to get control of it. take a look at that. gary tuchman reports from san francisco. >> reporter: the scene is frightening, the sky, blood red, the scene is so intense it is challenging to see. this is a neighborhood in san marcos, california, north of san diego. and it is the most intense time during the wildfire. the frantic efforts to stop the flames from burning down houses. incredibly just a short time before this video was shot there was relatively little fire in this area. when we got to san marcos this is what we saw. some flames but winds starting to pick up.
the flames and the winds spread the ashes and embers and that is what makes the fire spread. this area right here ten minutes ago nothing at all. now we're seeing the smoke and the flames start to form. it is very likely that within the next couple of hours these trees, this vegetation will be gone. right down the hill from where i'm standing here in california, which is northeast of san diego, this is the cal-state san marcos campus. it has been here for a quarter of a century. it has now been evacuated. they hope the fire doesn't spread down there. and in this area within a five-minute walk there are hundreds of homes, businesses, condos and lots of people. choppers swoop in dropping water in the 99-degree dry heat. thirty degrees higher than normal may highs in san diego county. then trouble. the winds continue to increase. the fire is getting bigger and moving closer to us and moving closer to houses in the neighborhood. the firefighters we're talking to are getting quite concerned. >> it is scariest at the moment with the fire now like 100 yards from the homes. and i worry about the embers jumping into the grass next to the homes. >> reporter: it is frightening.
>> it is, very. >> reporter: and then we see a bizarre spectacle of nature, a fire tornado, a whirl wind of smoke caused by the wind and intense heat. seconds after we see it the fire starts to blaze in new spots. >> we got to get some lines around the structures. >> reporter: the grave concerns now the flames are very close to the houses and we've witnessed the fire gallup hundreds of yards in just seconds. more firefighters are called in to help. people on the ground make sure they have an escape route if the blaze jumps. the blaze starts to diminish, at least from where we are. >> the fire is burning, but at least not like it was before. the lush area is destroyed but the firefighters have done a good job saving the neighborhood where we're standing. >> an evacuation order is still in effect, though. the situation is still too volatile. the people who live here well aware that their neighborhood
could end up looking like this one on the other side of town. >> gary joins us now, just incredible the work these firefighters do risking their lives. do they expect it tomorrow to be any better? >> reporter: well, tomorrow they hope that it is a lot better. because right now it is still in the 90s, anderson. it is very dry. it is only just after 5:00 in the afternoon. so we have this afternoon, early evening. but then tomorrow the weather is supposed to get cooler. the humidity is supposed to go up. and by the weekend, it is supposed to be in the 60s, typical weather. so they hope if they can get through today and tomorrow at least things will be better. the most important facts, anderson, nobody has been hurt or killed so far. >> appreciate the update, gary, and joining me is the fire chief, chief, thank you for joining us. what is the latest, i know san marcos was the county's number
one priority today. >> yeah, currently an update. we are a little over a thousand acres. we still have a full evacuation in so we have not let any residents back in yet just because the fire started going on yesterday. directly west with an east wind on it and it turned on us. it went east, and still is continuing below east. and we're just doing our best to get enough resources. we're starting to get enough resources from other areas since they are the priority and they have been able to move from northern california down to assist. and i think we're doing pretty well at this point. >> do you have any sense of how much of the fire you have been able to contain so far? >> like i said, i said we're predicting that we're about a thousand acres. it is a moving target as far as estimating size and we're comfortable saying we're only
about 5% of that contained right now, though. >> and how many homes and people have been evacuated in total, do you know? >> people, i'm not sure, we're estimating about 5,000 homes. and again we're working on people. they want to get back to their homes but we're not willing at this point to let them back in until we have quite a few power lines and safety comes first. life safety, and we have a bunch of roads we want to make sure are secure, we have had some of those roads cut off. so we're working on a plan to get everybody back home when it is safe. >> and it is fantastic and amazing that nobody has been injured, among the firefighters how do you coordinate this on the ground? because i mean this is such a fast moving fire with embers changing. they can be blown a great distance. how do you ensure the safety of your firefighters? >> well, as you know we have had quite -- quite a history of wildfires in california. and it is -- i can say proudly that cooperation between the agencies with law enforcement, even the utilities, with the power agencies and everything else. we work under a unified command.
san marcos couldn't do this alone. we have cal-fire and numerous agencies all over north san diego counties that are working together. and it is just a -- it is just a good thing to continue to learn from what we've learned in the past and continue to get better at it. >> well, chief, again, thank you so much for talking to us and continue to stay safe with all of your firefighters. thank you, there are families who lost everything. but for one family in carlsbad, california, when they returned to the neighborhood and found out the house was completely destroyed, there was a silver lining, their dog, rocky, had survived. they join me along with their dog, rocky. bronson, let me start with you, you're standing in front of your parents' house. it was completely destroyed. and amazingly, your dog, rocky, lived at the house and survived the fire. did you think that rocky was going to make it? >> you know what. there was part of me did and
part of me that didn't. but all of my hopes were obviously that he was still alive. man, i just -- because i was calling all the shelters up, no one had a clue where he was. and to make a long story short, i came up to the house where all the firemen were. and they actually had no clue of a dog that was even in the back yard. so i was like really, so i just ran past everybody. jumped over the fence and basically found him in the back yard. >> he came running right up to him. >> he must have been so excited to see you. >> i know. >> he was really happy, man, he was ecstatic. >> do you know how he was able to make it through? >> if you guys can see the back he only has a couple of little singes on his hair, other than that he was good. really happy to see us.
>> do you know how he made it through? was he just lucky? >> no, there was actually -- i would say like a 10 x 10 cement area where the fire actually hit, i am thinking obviously he hung out around there. and -- survived. i mean, i saw some of the old footage of the fire before i was there, of all the smoke and you know all that stuff. it is really amazing that he lived through it. >> yeah. >> it was like the smoke inhalation, all that stuff, like it is incredible. >> we were all just screaming and crying. >> i bet. >> we just -- even though after all of this devastation and the house is completely on the ground we were just praying at least we could find our little dog here. my brother's dog. so just finding him has made everything better. >> and i know you have lived in the area -- for a lot of years, anya, have you ever been through anything like this before?
>> absolutely not, i mean, we walked up to this place and it was like a bomb went off. i mean, i can't explain to you how just horrific it was. when we were coming up the driveway we just kind of just saw it and all just broke down and started crying. i have never seen anything like it. i pray for all the other families, too, out there that are going through this right now. because i know there are fires everywhere. >> bronson, what happens next? there are so many other families with the fire raging, where do you go from here? >> well, luckily we have a lot of family here helping us close by. they have been helping us 100% in the last day or so. she lives right down the street. so myself, you know, my parents are here, too. we're going to be staying with her. crashing out. >> yeah, they're staying with me. i live about two minutes down the street. so -- it is good. at least we're altogether.
>> i'm also amazed how mellow that rocky is, for all he has been through he is just kind of hanging out. >> rocky the rock star. >> he is probably super tired, too, like all of us, we're all running on half an hour sleep. >> to be honest, we really -- >> not talking too clear, but that is probably the reason. >> well, listen, i'm so sorry. >> he is doing good. >> i am so sorry for all you have been through and i'm so glad that most importantly you're all safe. thank you so much for talking to us. >> thank you. we appreciate it. >> appreciate it. >> quick reminder, make sure you set your dvrs to watch "ac360." after stonewalling for three months, shinseki has finally faced the questions he has been asked. regarding the v.a., some of the
senators are not buying it. plus, a 9-year-old girl doesn't understand why she was forced to go with another man, her biological father. predibut, manufacturings a prettin the united states do. means advanced technology. we learned that technology allows us to be craft oriented. no one's losing their job. there's no beer robot that has suddenly chased them out.
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through mercedes-benz allthat's it?go out to dinner. i mean, he picks up the tab every time, which is great... he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants. huh the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn 2x the points on dining out, with no annual fee. go to citi.com/thankyoucards the senate hearing today for the veterans, secretary shinseki finally had to answer questions he has been avoiding for six months now. our drew griffin has been asking to speak with him for six months on their policies and practices. here is what actually happened when he showed up in pittsburgh. >> i cannot allow you. >> i'm calling -- you want to call them and see -- >> i can't technically call them. can you take the camera back
across the street? >> hold on i'm on the phone with them right now. >> so he was told to leave. that reaction became the norm on drew's story, he has repeatedly asked to get interviews with secretary shinseki and tried to no avail. >> this is drew griffin, we are again requesting an interview with general shinseki, i'm right outside the department of veterans affairs, we can do it any time today, five minutes. he can just step out the front door and we can talk to him here, or inside, give me a call. >> and that did not happen. drew has been reporting on the v.a. wait list, and the matter of veterans dying while waiting for appointments. the grilling that shinseki got was brutal and to many his answers were pretty astounding mostly for what he did not say. drew has the details. >> reporter: despite evidence that suggest there is a systemic, widespread wait scandal in the v.a. health care
system, the retired general who runs the v.a., as far as he can tell cooking the books about waiting for care is rare. >> is that a problem in the health care system? >> i'm not aware. and other than a number of isolated cases where there is evidence of that. but the fact that there is evidence in a couple of cases behooves us to go ahead and take a thorough look. >> that seems incredible for some senators who have been reading for months now about secret lists, whistle-blowers, claiming they were instructed to fudge numbers and case after case of veterans dead because of delayed or denied treatment. senator blumenthal, a former prosecutor, says he believes it is time to call in the fbi. >> should somebody be brought in at least to preserve the evidence that is there, if it is there? >> the failure here is more than just an isolated or aberrant
kind of instance or wrong doing. it involves the system itself and involves potential criminal wrongdoing. there is more than allegations, there is evidence. >> he is right, there is, and cnn has been reporting for months on it now. in phoenix, retired physician dr. sam foote and other sources insist there is a secret wait list at this hospital. and administrators, he alleges, are covering it up. >> we've heard as many as 40 veterans here in arizona, in the phoenix area, could have died waiting for care. >> that is correct. the number is actually higher. >> reporter: and while the phoenix v.a. was reporting timely appointments on its phoney lists, dr. foote says that actual waits on the real lists could have lasted months. >> when in reality it would have been six, in some cases, nine, 20 months. >> no six months, cnn has now reported on veterans dying, waiting for care. cnn has tried to get an
interview with the v.a. secretary, eric shinseki and his staff. the secretary has refused to respond to our requests. the director ducked us for weeks until we finally tried to demand answers as she left work. >> director helman, can you answer us? >> off the property, both of you. >> days later, director heldman denied any secret wait list. but also denied knowing what the investigation was about. >> and they don't tell us what the allegations are surrounding their investigation. i can just confirm that yes, they were here. >> helman is now on administrative leave. and many on capitol hill are calling on president obama to put her boss on leave permanently. several senators and members of the house have called for the resignation of eric shinseki. try as we might we couldn't get
the secretary to answer our questions until finally he appeared before reporters after the hearing. >> drew, you have obviously been working now for months to try to track general shinseki down to ask him some questions. you were finally able to do that tonight. were you able to get answers from him? >> you know, anderson, not different than what was said outside to reporters. and what he said, it sounded like government speak and ignoring the facts. take a listen. >> general, these delayed deaths have been well documented since 2011. the wait lists all across the country have been well documented in oig and government accountability office reports for a decade. why has it taken this crisis in phoenix and you specifically to act? >> well, we have certainly worked with the ig and the goa, any time they come up with a report. we work to close out those actions. >> anderson, shinseki is
pleading patience, there is a very limited amount of it up on capitol hill. we did also hear from the office of inspector general. they are fully investigating what took place in phoenix. trying to get to the bottom of it. but as i said the senators and many up on capitol hill are just growing tired of this. >> he also told the senators that he was not sure that the number of vets who died approaches the 40 number, right? >> that is right. and there was some testimony in that effect in the limited view that the oig has done they have not found evidence of 40. 17 deaths is the number that they found but they say that is quite preliminary. they want to have a full accounting of all the many lists that they're dealing with in phoenix. and by the way, the head of the oig says he fully expects that he will find that there was a second list. he was not calling it a secret list, but a second list. because that is what he says they found at several other v.a. facilities. >> all right, drew, thank you. well, house lawmakers are also demanding answers, the house committee on veterans affairs voted to subpoena the secretary, chairman miller of florida joins me tonight. >> mr. chairman, did you hear
anything from shinseki today that would make you think he should keep his job? >> i can tell you this, after what i heard today i am less convinced that the appropriate leadership is in place at the department of veterans affairs. i have said that i wanted to wait until the entire oig investigation is complete. now, unfortunately, they're telling us it may be august before it is done. but the secretary did an absolutely abysmal job of trying to re-instill faith and confidence in a very broken system. how can a person that is in charge of the second largest agency in the federal government who has had dozens of reports from the office of inspector general appear not to know about any of them? and it tells me one of two things, either his subordinates, his leadership underneath him has not been telling him the truth or he is just woefully unprepared to lead the agency. >> you know when he was asked by the senate affairs chairman
sanders if they were cooking the books, shinseki said he was not aware of this, other than a few quote, isolated incidents, what is your reaction to this? >> they are cooking the books. that is what they said in the beginning about phoenix, they said no. they sent a team down there. they investigated. there was nothing to look at it. unfortunately, we found out it was not only true in phoenix but it has become systemic throughout the entire agency. let me tell you, i was in jackson, mississippi earlier this week and sat down with the leadership there. let me tell you what this nationwide audit details. it is actually a couple of people that go in, sit down and talk with an appointment clerk or two. they don't talk to any veterans and then they make a decision, well, everything is fine. and the fact is that unless we get an independent group to go in like the commission that i have asked the president to set up, i don't have faith that the
department is able to do what it needs to do to correct the course that it is on. >> this thing i don't get is that now the president has asked the top adviser, his deputy chief of staff, to step in and help the department of veterans affairs to deal with the investigations by the inspector general and by congress to deal with the crisis. if you have to appoint somebody from the white house to oversee your own secretary what does that say? >> i think it is total spend control. it began to get out of the control of the department itself. it was beginning to affect the white house. and i believe they wanted one of their own people sitting inside the central office trying to control the spin and certainly the words that were coming out of the agency. >> you know, i was also stunned last time we talked. you said your committee has not gotten cooperation from the v.a. it is not just us reporters not getting answers, not getting interviews. has that situation changed at all?
i know you have to subpoena the general himself to appear before the committee. have they been more cooperative? >> actually, no, they're not anymore transparent today than they were a year ago. and unfortunately all they want to have us do is meet with their general counsel and negotiate. what information needs to be provided. they need to provide exactly what we asked for. >> and a number of senators noted they believe there is a lack of resources for the investigation. especially when you have officials potentially destroying evidence that could be critical to ongoing investigations. some people talked about the fbi stepping in. is that something you would support? >> i think there is a possibility there has been criminal activity. but this is a crisis within the second largest department within the federal government. and people are quickly losing faith. and today the secretary did nothing in his testimony to help restore that faith. >> chairman jeff miller, it is good to have you on again, thank you, sir. >> thank you. we'll continue on this story and as always you can find more on this story and others at cnn.com. up next, the battle over a
9-year-old girl whose adoption was overturned on a technicality involving her father's prison sentence. now her adoptive parents are fighting to get her back. plus, on the breaking news, eight wildfires in california, we'll update you on the battle to contain the flames. passenger: road trip buddy. let's put some music on. woman: welcome to learning spanish in the car. passenger: you've got to be kidding me. driver: this is good. woman: vamanos. driver & passenger: vamanos. woman: gracias. driver & passenger: gracias. passenger: trece horas en el carro sin parar y no traes musica. driver: mira entra y comprame unas papitas. vo: get up to 795 miles per tank in the tdi clean diesel. the volkswagen passat. recipient of the j.d. power appeal award, two years in a row.
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go with a stranger, the man you never met, your biological father, who is now out of prison, he moves you away, and the adoptive parents are trying to get her back. this is the outline of this battle. >> reporter: this is the sound of a 9-year-old girl begging to return to the only home she has ever known. >> what did you say, baby? >> i want you to come and get me. >> you just stay strong, everything is going to be okay. >> reporter: that was the last time sonya heard her parents' voice, she had been removed from their home, her home, in tennessee, the day before. but why? she had been in the care of carol and jim hodgins when she was two. and adopted by the couple in 2008. >> when the adoption became
final, how thrilled were the two of you. >> oh, we were just so happy. >> reporter: but that joy was short lived. and here is why. sonya's birth father, john mccall, is a convicted criminal. he pled guilty to transporting firearms, a felony, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. under tennessee law his rights were automatically terminated because state law doesn't allow anyone incarcerated for more than ten years to have rights to a child under 8 years old. but before his daughter's adoption was finalized he cut a deal and got his sentence reduced to seven and a half years. that deal and lesser sentence allowed him to assert his parental rights and fight to reverse the adoption that was later finalized. >> she has never laid eyes on this man. he is a total stranger. >> reporter: that total stranger managed to convince the court to reconsider. in november, 2009, one year and 12 days after she had been legally adopted sonya's adoption was reversed. but she continued to live with the hodgens while both sides
fought for custody. nearly five years later a juvenile court judge ruled sonya should be returned to her biological father. >> and sonya is crying her eyes out, just screaming bloody murder, please, daddy, mom, don't let them take me. >> and took her bags, that is the last that i've seen her. >> reporter: just three hours after the judge's ruling, sonya was gone. dave asked john mccall to reconsider. >> i asked him to look in her eyes right now. obviously she is standing right there. and she is begging and pleading and crying, and it did not matter. >> reporter: mccall's lawyer in tennessee told us despite repeated efforts by the foster family to terminate this child's father's rights, his parental rights have never been successfully terminated and his daughter has been returned to his care. this is sonya's home now. we came here to omaha, nebraska,
hoping to get john mccall to answer some of our questions about his daughter, sonya, and his past. he had told me earlier by phone he would be open to that and to check with his lawyer. but when i got ahold of his attorney she told me that at least for now mr. mccall is forbidden by the department of children's services to speak publicly about the case and sonya. back to the heartwrenching phone call that was recorded, this is how she described her new life. >> tell me how bad is the house. >> there is dirt everywhere. even mold. there is no clean water. >> no clean water? no drinking water? >> dirt everywhere. all over, it is so nasty. there is cigarettes everywhere. >> is he being nice to you? >> yeah. >> reporter: it is a recording dave and kim hodgen can't even
bring themselves to listen to. >> anybody within their right mind would be worried. and yes, we're terribly worried. >> so tomorrow, the adoptive parents go back to court in tennessee, what is the hearing about? >> well, this will be the first time the hodgens, the adoptive parents will be heard. they will talk to the judge who decided to take sonya away from them and gave her back to her father. they are fighting for the rights of the adoptive parents. they are going to bring up a federal law put in place to protect adoptions and foster parents and children caught up in these adoptions. so they plan to ask for a best interest hearing. and then until that time they would like to have sonya brought back to tennessee, to live with them. and they would like to give the dad visiting rights based on what a therapist says is appropriate. they're really looking out for her best interest. >> under the state law it was
not an eight-year sentence, it was seven and a half? >> absolutely, if it was ten years, he would have lost his rights. but he got the sentence reduced. >> we'll continue to follow it. randi kaye, thank you. and up next, the latest on the wildfires in california. threatening schools, homes. camp pendleton base, also what it is like to fight a fire from the air. ted rollins rides along to see how it is done. when folks think about what they get from alaska,
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i'm looking at you phone company dsl. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business built for business. 2600 firefighters working throughout california and san diego county, at this moment trying to get the fires under control. in san marcos, the fire is only about 5% contained as they burned about 1200 acres so far. another in carlsbad, so far a handful of homes have been destroyed in that fire which has destroyed hundreds of acres. take a look at the video one resident captured taken shortly after the fast-moving fire began. >> these people are out of there -- [ bleep ]. >> a lot of roads were shut down, others were crowded with residents trying to get away.
our jennifer gray joins me live from the weather center with more, what kind of conditions are they up against right now? >> it is very, very tough conditions, we have seen temperatures running 30 degrees above normal. temperatures in carlsbad should be about 70 degrees this time of year. they have been running in the mid-90s, los angeles should be in the mid-70s. they have been in the triple digits, 80 in carlsbad, 77 on saturday. still above normal but temperatures will be a little bit cooler. also the winds are going to start to shift. we have been getting those strong santa ana winds pushing onshore. should get more of an onshore flow as we go through the weekend. what that will do is bring up the humidity level a bit. and bring in some moisture. that is good news for the firefighters trying to fight these fires.
still very dry, though, across los angeles and points to the northwest. dry, breezy, very, very hot, anderson. >> and the drought has obviously been a huge concern. what is the outlook for the next couple of months because we're so early in the fire season? >> yeah, the fire season doesn't really kick off until july. we've already seen firefighters already. the state is 100% in severe drought. the monitor came out today, exceptional drought, 25% of the state and that is the highest category that the drought monitor will go. this is unprecedented. state of california is drier than they have ever been in history. so we could be in store for a very, very bad wildfire season. >> all right, jennifer, appreciate the update. san marcos mayor joins me on the phone. mr. mayor, i appreciate you joining me under these very difficult conditions. i mean, what has the day been like for you, for everybody there? >> well, it has been quite an -- an all-out effort here for all the agencies coming together here in the city of san marcos. our hearts and prayers are going
out to the safety personnel and san marcos firefighters protected on the ground and the sheriffs in their evacuation efforts. we have neighboring cities, their fire personnel here as well as cal-fire. we even got the marines and their helicopters coming in with the aerial assaults on the fires. we have the red cross and citizen volunteers. really coming together with the big collaborative effort trying to get through this thing. >> and thank goodness, no fatalities, do you have a sense of the scope of the damage? >> well, we have almost a thousand acres. there is a different amount. between 800 and 1200 acres have been damaged. within the city we have only lost one home with that. there are three other homes just outside the city that were also lost. with that amount of fire we're just lucky we had the shifting winds and temperatures and the dry foliage. and it kind of made for the perfect fire storm. and we hope in the next couple of days to get some relief. >> do you know what caused this fire yet? >> no, we don't really have a sense of what exactly sparked it.
the conditions, unfortunately in southern california have just been ripe with the large winds, the santa ana winds and we have been very, very dry. all the foliage has been very dry. and just the perfect storm, the elements to create this thing today. actually it was smoldering from yesterday, but it caught again. >> and you talk about all the agencies coordinating together. is there anything in terms of resources or agencies that you don't have? >> you know, we really have had great outpouring from the neighboring communities, i just back from the red court cross evacuation center at one of our high schools. and there are stacks and stacks and stacks of water. there are even people bringing in water and granola bars from their homes for people who have not evacuated. we have 87,000, and most of them are evacuated. it is pretty dramatic.
>> and we just talked to jennifer gray. the fire season has not really even begun. it is only may and we're seeing these kind of firings. how do you plan for the next couple of months?eings. how do you plan for the next couple of monthngs. how do you plan for the next couple of monthgs. how do you plan for the next couple of months. how do you plan for the next couple of months? >> well, basically you know this is a great education for everybody to clear away the brush away from their homes and things like that. it is really kind of surreal, looking today, back in the fire area. there is this burned hillside. and there are these homes, islands of homes that are protected. you can tell those are the ones that went through the effort, made the effort to keep it in a protectable space around their homes and didn't have trees right up against their houses and things like that. it is more of an education and making people aware of it. there is a huge fire, no injuries and just one loss of one house, the firefighters and everybody has been exemplary. >> yes, it certainly seems that way, mayor, appreciate your time and hope for everybody in their community. take a look at this amazing
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right there. >> you can see the helicopter there coming into frame. part of the fight against these fires taking place in the air. ted rollins rode along during a training exercise to get a sense and see what it is actually like for the firefighters as they aim at targets on the ground. >> inside the cockpit of a bae-146 air tanker, the firefighter pilots prepare for takeoff. >> okay, clear right. clear left, clear right. >> during the fire, this plane is capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of retardant. from as low as 150 feet above the flames. >> how do you know where to aim at? >> when there's a fire, you know
where to aim because there's a guy on the ground. i'm only allowed to ride along because this is a training flight, a water drop for ryan's annual certification that target just to the right of our camera crew on the ground. neptune aviation in montana is one of a handful of training stations in the western united states. they could be in the air in minutes after getting a call. >> it is critical to get there. >> once they get there, the adrenalin kicks in. >> you are just so hyper-focused on what you're doing. it is very coordinated chaos when you're own a fire. >> the largest air tanker in the world is this converted dc-10 which can drop an incredible 12,000 gallons. >> right now, the fire that could call us is in west texas.
>> we caught up with the plane, and the man who helped design it at the inner agency fire center in phoenix. >> this is a common misperception. >> hatton said the dc-10 is the ultimate fighting equipment, because it carries four times the amount of retardant than any other plane. the tank is mounted to the bottom of the plane. the white you see are two doors controlled from the cockpit. meanwhile, the area where 380 passengers used to sit has been completely gutted giving the pilots greater maneuverability. >> there is no room for fear. >> but there is danger over the years. there have been several accidents including this 2000 crash in california that claimed three lives. then two years ago, pilots todd thompkins and ron cha chambliss
died flying along the border.ha died flying along the border.a died flying along the border. c died flying along the border.chd flying along the border. >> when we lose people it is very, very difficult. >> reporter: while there are critics that believe tankers are too expensive, the men and women who maintain risking their lives on the plane believe their role is critical. >> it is like artillery or air in a war. it is not the only thing you need but it is a vital part of a coordinated effort. >> i mean, our ultimate goal is to put out fire. and our little piece of that pie, that is what i enjoy is knowing we help. >> speed checks. clear to land. >> ted rollins joins me from carlsbad, california. it has been really bad there in the last 24 hours, we're looking at images now from carlsbad. what is it like there now? >> well, things have gotten much better, anderson, the winds died down. things got better here, and in escondido which we talked about earlier, the bottom line, this is what is left. these homes here in carlsbad, completely devastated. the homeowners looking for what
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on may 21st. we want to leave you with highlights from the ceremony. >> it is an honor for us to join in your remembrance, to recall and to reflect. but above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11. love, compassion. sacrifice, and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation. >> walking through this museum can be difficult at times but it is impossible to leave without feeling inspired. each story here beats with a human heart. which if we allow it, touches our own. >> i dedicate this song to my late husband, calvin joseph gooding.
♪ amazing grace ♪ >> we will never understand why one person escaped and another didn't. how random it all seems and how powerless makes us all feel. but what this museum does is allow us to see that we absolutely can affect each other's lives by what we do at a time of crisis. if through our rescue many of us join the rescue and recovery teams at ground zero to do for others what had been done for us we had to. we had come together at ground zero to help each other out. there was a real sense of caring for one another. this is something we should never forget. and never stop doing. >> like the great wall and bed rock that embrace us today,
nothing can ever break us. nothing can change who we are as americans. >> i'm bill weir, thank you for checking in on cnn tonight. and more breaking news on one of the worst fires we've seen in a long, long time. some 10,000 acres, but near san marcos, a firenado rose and twisted. cnn's gary tuchman has more. >> reporter: bill, this is a beautiful town with beautiful neighborhoods. but this neighborhood right now is a ghost neighborhood. people are evacuated. all that is left of the firefighters and us. and this is what we have been doing all day. the hill top on top of san
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