tv First Look MSNBC April 18, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PDT
situation. breaking news at the fertilizer plant had exploded around seven to eight hours ago. stay tuned. "first look" up next. right here with the breaking news coming out of texas on msnbc. breaking news on "first look." an explosion at a fertilizer plant in texas. unknown fatalities and hundreds have been injured. and in boston, the fbi believes they've isolated an image of a potential bombing suspect. new details just ahead. good morning. we begin with a massive and deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in texas. we have video of the moment that blast took place. it is disturbing. in the clip, you can hear how the explosion led to sheer
terror for a child watching nearby. [ explosion ] >> i can't hear. i can't hear. get out of here. please, get out of here. >> oh, my god. >> please, get out of here. please, get out of here. dad, please get out of here. >> this morning, police are not giving exact numbers on casualties. but early reports indicate that hundreds are injured. it all happened in the city of west, texas. that's about 20 miles north of waco. and registered a magnitude 2.1 on the richter scale. the local ems director was visibly injured in the blast. and he describes the explosion. >> just a major, major explosion. the windows came in on me. the roof came in on me. the ceiling came in. i worked my way out to go get some more help. we lost all communication because the power went out. the station is damaged.
the whole 1500 block of stillmeadow, the closest street to it. >> weather could play a role in this story. it could interfere with search and rescue efforts and the distribution of potentially toxic fumes. for more, we're joined by nbc meteorologist bill karins. >> at the press conference, they were talking about the fact that the winds are going to shift directions. that's a big concern because the first responders on the ground, they don't want to be downwind of this plant and any toxic gases being emitted. right now, the winds are out of the south, 20 to 30 miles per hour consistently. that didn't help the firefighters to put out the home fire. the cold front will come through. there could be strong thunderstorms over the area. this is west, texas, right here. this is the dallas/ft. worth area. and waco to the south. the winds are going to shift. and the concern is going to be, once the wind shifts to the north, the safe side of down is on the south side. and then, once the wind shifts, they have to get everyone out of the way and shift them to the
other direction. it's a logistics concern on the ground. >> and officials are asking those who are still in the area to stay indoors so they avoid any exposure to toxic fumes. we've heard some numbers of casualties. it's estimated that hundreds are injured and there are fatalities. in addition to the human toll, we know that community has been devastated. officials estimate that 50 to 100 homes and buildings in a 5-mile radius around the plant have been potentially been destroyed or damaged. completely destroyed or damaged. yesterday, officials spent hours going door-to-door, knocking on doors, in a search and rescue mission, trying to identify those who were wounded and injured and needed help. now, the community of west, texas, is a very small town. it's about 2,600 people. it's a farming community. about 20 miles north of waco.
not an area that is prepared or able to deal with the hundreds of injured and a tragedy of this magnitude. so, a majority of the injured were taken to hospitals outside of the area. many of them to waco, texas. they also got a great deal of assistance in terms of emergency responders. and from as far away as dallas and ft. worth. they got so much assistance, that officials over the course of the evening, had to tell them to stop coming to stop sending assistance. we're hearing from some hospitals of the nature of the injuries we've seen in this. it ranges, everything from minor cuts and abrasions to burns. we're waiting to hear on the number of fatalities. we have david scott, who is live in west, texas, for more on the story. david, what can you tell us what's happening on the ground there? >> reporter: well, right now, the wait is for dawn in the next couple of hours. that will make the relief and recovery efforts a lot better.
we're told that roughly 100 people are injured, more or less. most taken to the medical center in waco. they're not giving out fatality counts. rumors it's fairly high. they want to be sure of the numbers. and they have a lot of rubble yet to go through. >> david, as day starts to break there and it starts to get light, have you had an opportunity to see any of the damage around town? it's been described as massive. >> reporter: well, we're probably not going to get to see it. they have all of the media holed up here south of town. in fact, about half of the town of 2,800 people have been evacuated because of the danger of noxious fumes. no one in the media is going to get close to what happened anytime soon today. >> that fire continued to burn for hours last night. and in the middle of the morning, authorities were concerned about the possibility of secondary explosions. do we know about the nature of
the fire at that plant? does it continue to burn this morning? are they still worried about the possibility of other explosions? >> we're told it is smoldering. there is always the danger of another flare-up. they said, frankly, throughout the darkness of the night, they've been concentrating more on rescue and relief than on dampening down the last of the smoldering fires. it's generally under control. >> david scott, live in west, texas. thank you for that report. federal agents arrested a mississippi man overnight, suspected of sending letters contaminated with poison to president obama and senator roger wicker. the move comes just days after the betters were intercepted in mail-sorting facilities. tracie potts is live with the details. >> reporter: authorities after an exhaustive investigation traced the letters to paul kevin curtis of tupelo, mississippi. he was arrested at his home in mississippi, as authorities try to figure out what the motive
was here. three letters that tested positive for potentially dangerous ricin. the one sent to senator wicker never made it to capitol hill. it was intercepted. one sent to president obama was intercepted offsite. all of them postmarked april 8th. and all postmarked for memphis. what gave it away was the common signature. i am kevin curtis and i approve this message, at the end of the letters. the test on the first letter to wicker, had proved inconclusive. and the second one, as well. they're trying to figure out how potent this ricin was. and while it initially tested positive, the further tests by the fbi have been inconclusive. they ordered more as they continue to investigate. >> all right, tracie potts in washington. thanks so much for that. after a rollercoaster day of reports on the investigation into the boston bombings, it
appears authorities have pictures of their suspect. the front page of this morning's "boston globe" claims authorities have image of bombing suspect. we also know the identity of the third victim killed by those blasts. 23-year-old lindsay lu, a grad student from china, has been identified by boston university. 29-year-old crystal campbell and 8-year-old martin richard were injured. chris, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, to you, maura. right across from me at holy cross cathedral, 11:00 eastern time, there will be a memorial honoring the victims. the president and the first lady will be here. it comes on a day when there's a report of a huge breakthrough in this case, something that could be a turning point, after going through thousands of photographs and surveillance videos. police believe that they have been able to take away one
picture of a man in a baseball cap, that nbc news has learned has been distributed to law enforcement agencies. apparently that video, taken on the official cameras. the surveillance cameras, a local department store. show a man acting suspiciously and dropping a bag in the same area as the second bomb. this is the same place where the local tv station, whdh, had the photographs. one showing what seemed to be almost a garbage bag or grocery store bag. and afterwards, the explosion that went off. there is a manhunt on right now to identify that person in the video. we are told that the company that manufactured is cooperating. they will try to trace where it might have been sold. everything down to the wires that were used. many of them commonly available. less common may be the circuit board that investigators believe
they have been used as a timing device. so, all of that is being investigated, trying to be traced, every, single component part. while investigators are still on the scene, even though it has -- they are going over every inch. i wanted to update you quickly, in local hospitals, at least 14 people still in critical condition. but doctors say they believe all of them will survive. >> a bit of good news. thanks so much. chris jansing live in boston. just ahead, the senate has dealt a major blow to the president's effort to expand gun control through background checks. but an emotional president vows to fight on. plus, more details on the massive west, texas, explosion. and the latest information, just ahead. you have the potential to do more in business.
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bill to expand background checks on firearm sales fails in the senate. kelly o'donnell has the latest from washington. >> reporter: the president gave the rose garden microphone over to a newtown dad, mark barden. >> we'll return home now. disappointed but not defeated. >> reporter: the president, clearly angry. >> the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. >> reporter: lashed out at congress. >> this is a pretty shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make clear to the american people, we can bring about meaningful changes to reduce gun violence, so long as the american people don't give up on it. >> reporter: from the steps of air force one to the u.s. capitol, newtown families had been unwilling to give up. >> our hearts are broken.
our spirit is not. >> reporter: gabby giffords who personally lobbied senators, call the failure to pass expanded background checks unthinkable. but the consoling of a survivor, who shouted at senators. shame on you. >> order in the senate. >> they have no soul. they have no compassion. >> reporter: some newtown families had held more private meeti meetings. mark kirk's staff took these pictures. the latest poll showed nearly nine out of ten surveyed want tighter restrictions on gun sales. four republicans voted yes to extend background checks to commercial sales, at gun shows and the internet. >> expanded background checks would not have prevented newtown. >> reporter: conservative opposition was strong. >> this is the first step of the erosion of our rights around the second amendment. >> try to take it the violent criminal, rather than take it to the law-abiding citizen.
>> reporter: usually a vice president arrives to preside over a winning vote. four democrats with red states with high gun ownership also voted no. >> kelly o'donnell reporting. a new twist in the case of two assassinated public officials in texas. the wife of a former texas justice of the peace, has confessed she was involved in the shooting deaths of kaufman county prosecutor and district attorney mike mcclellan and his wife last month. she says her husband pulled the trigger. he has not been charged. if two men who had been killed, prosecuted williams for theft. he was convicted and fired from his job and sentenced to probation. turning to business, where it's been a bumpy ride on wall street this week. today's week lly jobless claims could determine if they snap
back or deepen in across-the-board losses. apple shed nearly 6%. the slide came on the heels of reports of dwindling demand for the ipad mini. and google is barring anyone chosen for a pair of its $1,500 google glasses from selling or loning out the eye wear. the terms of service states, quote, you may not resell, loan, transfer or give your device to any other person. google reserves the right to deactivate the device. this is probably a good time to announce i'll be getting a pair. but they won't leave my hands. comiing up, mike allen join me for the latest of what's next for the president's gun control legislation after yesterday's crippling blow in the senate. you're watching "first look." ♪
(announcer) wake them up with breakfast-favorite flavors like salmon, egg, cheese, and whole grain oats. friskies. now serving breakfast. turning back, now, to our top political story. wednesday, the senate voted against several gun control measures. joining me now for more on this, is mike allen, chief white house correspondent for politico. thanks for being here. in the wake of the newtown shootings, it seemed like there was more political will to do something about gun control than in probably the last two decades. what happened? >> newtown may have changed the nation. but it didn't change washington. what we saw was that time was the enemy. right after 9/11, president bush, right away, pushed the patriot act.
but a few months between here. and that turned out to be costly. yesterday, we saw the president in a way that we rarely see him. glum, angry, disappointed, irritated. we're told that he watched the vote in the situation room. he was on some other briefing. and new in advance that the measure was going to go against him. he was most irritated at the democrats who voted against it. four democrats he personally lobbied them. he's not used to being told no. >> you brought the front page of "the daily news." it shows some of his words. betrayed by liars and cowards. shameful. was this political bluster to keep the momentum going? or was this genuine emotion from him? >> a little of both. and we saw the president's outside group organizing for action, which used to be his campaign, already on saturday, as we do a day of action on background checks. he said this was just the beginning. the newtown families have told us and we've seen on your air, they're going to keep up with it. but the mind of the white house
is now turning to immigration. and they're hoping that having this out of the way will help them. democrats told them behind the scenes was, this is just too much. gay marriage, immigration, guns. we can't do all of those. >> and you know, we had some big, breaking news overnight with this explosion in texas. reports are that hundreds are injured. we don't have numbers on fatalities yet. this week, we have the first terrorist attack on u.s. soil since the september 11st. >> the ricin letters. >> the president will be in boston today. how does he keep the nation calm? >> this is a time when security has gone out of people's minds. national security and we didn't even mention north korea. so, all of a sudden, security, both domestic and global, are back, centerpiece issues. that's good for the commander in chief. puts him in charge. and it makes the republicans sort of sound like the peanut gallery. >> are security issues good? in the past, we've seen terror
attacks become politicized. recently with the benghazi attack. that became political. >> that's a great point. that's how times have changed since 9/11. after 9/11, the country came together. this time, we're seeing security issues used in a political way. white house officials tell us, they hope that boston turns out to be a domestic incident because if there's a foreign connection, people have been trying to blame the president oop lit be the divisive. >> mike allen, we have to leave it there. thank you for your time this morning. up next, hundreds wounded and an unknown number of fatalities. live to west, texas, for an update on the massive fertilizer plant explosion. in the jungle. i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours.
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recapping this morning's top story. a massive and deadly explosion at a texas fertilizer plant. one official describing the damage as similar to iraq and the oklahoma city bombings. it's a story that's still developing at this hour. here's what we know right now. police are not giving exact numbers on casualties. but say there are fatalities. and early reports indicate that hundreds were injured. the explosions happened last night in the city of west, texas. that's about 20 miles north of waco. charles hadlock is live in west, texas, with the latest. what can you tell us this morning? >> reporter: the good news is that the fire that started all this, at the fertilizer plant, is now under control. in fact, they're not concerned about the fire as much as they are about recovering the remains of people and also searching for survivors, if there are any still out in the neighborhoods. as far as we know, there's been
about 150 people injured by our count. and fatalities, we're just not certain. the authorities say they are fatalities. they're not certain of the number. we're expecting a briefing at the top of the hour. perhaps we'll have more numbers at that point. this is a small farming community. the fertilizer plant was a major employer here in town. the fire broke out about 6:30 local time. and by 7:45, it was burning out of control. and at 7:50, it exploded. an explosion that was felt at least 60 miles away. i felt it in kaufman county. it registered on a seismometer in amarillo, texas, as a 2.1 earthquake. a major explosion here. the impact on this small town has yet to be determined. but suffice it to say, this is a major, major disaster for texas small town. >> all right. nbc's charles hadlock live in west, texas. we should note there was a fire
burning at the plant before the explosion. firefighters were responding to that. and overnight, we got reports that firefighters were still missing. we will continue to follow this developing story. stay with msnbc for the latest on that. this is "first look." "way too early" starts right now. it should collapse. [ explosion ] >> just an unbelievable explosion. hundreds of people are hurt. and there are fatalities. we just don't know how many after an explosion at a fertilizer plant north of waco, texas. we are on the scene, as new details emerge. good morning, everyone. this is "way too early" on a busy news day on this thursday, april 18th. they have a face. but they still need a name. we'll have the latest on the investigation into the