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Fire Ravages Jersey Shore; Seaside Heights Devastation; Deadly Colorado Flooding; Signs Of Progress; Twitter Announces IPO

Aired September 13, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." It is Friday, September 13th. Friday 13th, still OK.


CUOMO: Still Friday. Six o'clock in the east. We're watching two major stories for you at this hour. Really natural disasters. We're going to take you live to the Jersey Shore which is once again being forced to rebuild. It seems like we were just there after hurricane Sandy, reporting on this iconic picture.

Remember it? Well, not even a year later, images there even worse. Much more in just a moment.

BOLDUAN: And in a very different part of the country, rescuers working around the clock, trying to save as many people as possible this morning from those flash floods, really just can't believe the video we've been watching for more than a day now. Just take a look at this man, trapped in his car. It took rescuers an hour to get him out.

Thankfully, he's OK as far as we know. Just one of the hundreds of people that had to be rescued because of all of that rain.

CUOMO: And then another amazing piece of video you're going to want to see, a girl is run over by an out-of-control SUV. But remember, when things are at their worst, people often at their best. Wait until you hear the amazing story of a group of people coming to their rescue. We're going to get some of those heroes for you this morning. You'll not believe the story.

BOLDUAN: Let's start off with this horrible, there's no other way to describe it. Less than a year after the devastation of hurricane Sandy, two towns struggling to recover alongside the Jersey Shore are hit by tragedy once again. A very big stretch of the iconic Boardwalk and dozens of businesses damaged and destroyed by flames in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. It's a one-two punch that clearly no one saw coming. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is calling the destruction unthinkable.

Our Don Lemon is live from Seaside Park this morning. Don, we've been talking about it this morning, months of rebuilding and healing. They're looking to a good season, wiped out in a heartbeat for so many people. DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you know what, Kate, I wish I had some good news, but I think it's -- to be honest here, I think by the time the sun comes up that this is going to be worse than we thought because of the reports of businesses being destroyed are going up as we talk to officials here. And what we're hearing is that what Sandy didn't destroy, this fire certainly did.


LEMON (voice-over): A state of emergency on the Jersey Shore, hundreds of firefighters battling a massive inferno that raged into the night. The fire finally under control, the fast-moving blaze destroying dozens of businesses in a six-block stretch in just hours, along the boardwalk between Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, two communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy nearly one year ago.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I said to my staff, I feel like I want to throw up.

LEMON: This amateur video shows the fire erupting at this ice cream stand just after 2:00 p.m. Thursday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't go in there!

LEMON: Within hours, the fire engulfed block after block, spread by high winds gusting over 30 miles per hour.

CHRISTINE HEMINGWAY, EMPLOYEE AT KOURS FROZEN CUSTARD SHOP: My manager came in the stand and told me to get out because there was smoke coming up through the boardwalk. We ran away and turned around again and there was just flames coming out of the building.

LEMON: The inferno so big first responders had to pump water from this nearby bay. The fire eventually contained about a 20-foot wide trench built by firefighters.

DOUGLAS IANNOTTI, SEASIDE RESIDENT: Within 15 minutes, there were more flames than I had ever seen in my life. It was amazing. It's terrible what's going on, it really is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's horrifying what's going on here, the whole town, people that grew up here, work here are suffering a lot of damage.

SARAH GOMEZ, SEASIDE RESIDENT: After everything that we just went through for rebuilding everything, especially the shore and to know that it's all burning down now. I'm sorry.

LEMON: The thick black smoke could be seen for miles. Governor Chris Christie urging the public to stay out of the area.

CHRISTIE: My advice to you, in fact my admonition is do not come here. Do not travel. Stay away.

LEMON: This area near the Fun Town Pier, one of the few stretches of boardwalk that survived sandy has fallen victim to this incredible fire. The neighboring pier's roller coaster washed into the ocean became a symbolic image of Jersey strength. Repairs to the boardwalk after Sandy completed in time for its summer season re-opening this May. The state's resolve being tested once again.

CHRISTIE: And listen, this is us. As soon as this is over, we'll pick ourselves up. We'll dust ourselves off and get back to work.


LEMON: And believe it or not, that fire still not out. The good news, though, it's contained. Every single bit of fire apparatus within miles, 35 different fire companies out here. At first, it was four blocks of businesses, then six blocks. The first fire trench didn't hold. They had to build another one and this fire spreading to a condominium complex.

We're hearing embers as big as a fist falling on businesses, going into the sky and into the ocean. Fortunately they were able to put the fire out at the apartment complex. But, again, it is devastating, this fire contained but still going. Injuries but no deaths -- Chris.

CUOMO: You know, and that is one part of the situation at least it's not even worse than it could have been, because when buildings in such close proximity and so many different people involved it could have been a real human disaster as well. We thank Don for the roaring there. We'll be back to him all morning.

Now as we mentioned. This fire is particularly devastating because the area was just recovering from Sandy and one of its signature features, a beautiful offshore breeze down there wound up becoming one of the biggest enemies in this fire.

Now let's bring in Mr. John Sundermann. He just lost his business in the fire. He has to rebuild again. John is joining us this morning from Seaside Heights. John -- Mr. Sundermann, thank you very much for joining us. Sorry to have to talk to you with this going on.

JOHN SUNDERMANN, OWNER, BIG HEARTED JOHN'S: You're welcome. Not a problem.

CUOMO: You just in shock right now about this?

SUNDERMANN: More numb than in shock. You know, we just got the business open July 3rd from the storm and then this time I was actually able to watch it go up in flames. It's not a good thing.

CUOMO: To say the least. Any sense of what made it happen? We're hearing it started in an ice cream store. Are they telling you anything about whether it was, was it mechanical? It wasn't arson, right?

SUNDERMANN: No. It's basically now it's just rumor. You hear different stories from different people. You don't know what's true. You don't know what isn't. We'll have to wait until they do an official investigation and find out what's going on.

CUOMO: Your business is so well known down there, the great name, Big Hearted John's.

SUNDERMANN: That's me.

CUOMO: Where was it in terms of where the fire burned? How much of it has been affected?

SUNDERMANN: To tell you the truth, we could only get to the rear end of it to watch it. We couldn't get on to the boardwalk to see the front of the building. From last night, I was able to get a little bit closer. It looks like the front third of the building and the whole front door was burned, and my building was the last building to be affected by the fire on the boardwalk. It's on Lincoln Avenue on the boardwalk.

CUOMO: Obviously these types of situations are nothing that you would ever joke about but when you were told there's a huge fire, the boardwalk is going up again. Could you believe this could happen to the same area?

SUNDERMANN: No. I got a call that there was a small fire down all the way away from us. I was like, OK, they'll take care of it. They'll put it out. I wasn't here. My sons were working in the building. By that time, I had called my other sons to come and say, listen, let's just to be prepared, because the last time we didn't think anything was going to happen with the storm and we got devastated.

Just go in there and try and get my computer out. Let's try and get some other stuff out. They managed to get stuff out. Smoke was blowing down. We never thought the building would burn. It started eight blocks away and it just rapidly went down there. I never, ever thought the building would burn from a fire that started that far away.

CUOMO: You said you're numb right now. But where do you need to put your head as quickly as possible? Can you spend the time with the why us, why me again or do you have to start thinking about the future right away?

SUNDERMANN: That's kind of pointless. I had a more hopeless feeling with the storm, but now I've been through it. I know what to expect. I know it can be done. It's time to start over again.

CUOMO: The silver lining of having lived through it once is that you know you can make it through again.

SUNDERMANN: Yes, exactly.

CUOMO: Well, listen, John, I'm sorry to meet you this way, but let us know when you re-open. I want to come down there and visit Big Hearted John's.

SUNDERMANN: I will. Come down and spend some money.

CUOMO: I'll spend CNN's money. I'll come down there on the corporate dime. Spend more that way. SUNDERMANN: That's even better. They have deep pockets.

CUOMO: All right, John Sundermann. Thank you very much. Appreciate having you on the show this morning. Good luck with the rebuild. Thank God nobody was hurt.

SUNDERMANN: Thank you, exactly.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: I do love that he can still have a sense of humor and perspective throughout all of this.

Let's move to Colorado now where there is no immediate relief for people hit with the historic flooding in the area, more heavy rain is in the forecast as well. Flash floods are blamed for at least three deaths now. President Obama has now approved emergency federal assistance.

CNN's George Howell is live in Boulder, Colorado, covering all the latest. Just look at the water rushing behind him. Good morning, George.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning. So, you know, as long as you see what we're seeing here, we're talking about these fast rushing streams of water that are cutting off entire communities. People are fighting to keep the floodwaters out of their homes, as long as this continues to play out here in Boulder, the more dangerous the situation becomes.


HOWELL (voice-over): Overnight, residents along Boulder creek were warned to get to higher ground for fear of this. Fast-moving water carrying dangerous debris, steadily rising, emergency crews struggled with relentless rain throughout the night as historic flooding has devastated the area around Boulder, Colorado.

Rescuers spent Thursday evacuating the worst-hit neighborhoods, getting people and pets to safety. In the small town of Lyons, officials describe the scene as a 500-year flood. Many residents were urged to stay in their homes. Dramatic scenes played out across the region, like this one in Aurora, a partially submerged car and a woman stranded on top, this firefighter came to her aid. The entire neighborhood of Erie, evacuated, fire crews saving precious lives.

GOVERNOR JOHN HECKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: We have declared it was a disaster for the flooded areas, requesting emergency declaration from FEMA.

HOWELL: This washed out road in Jefferson County left residents in Jamestown completely cut off from the world, no roads and spotty communication. The trouble began Wednesday night after an unusually powerful storm dumped more than half a foot of rain in a 19-hour period. You can hear the flood sirens blaring in this video taken by a student at Colorado University. In this video, water raging from Boulder Creek gushed on to campus. Thursday, two people were rescued from this horrific scene, trucks twisted and dangled over rushing water. And then this heart-pounding rescue, a man trapped in an overturned car for more than an hour. It was with a race against the clock, rescuers finally pulling him to dry land.

LT. ROB WILLIAMS, NORTH METRO FIRE RESCUE: Fortunately the windows were up and they had a good air pocket in the vehicles. We were able to go over to it and break the window and get them out.


HOWELL: So here's the thing, while that story aired, we just saw two vehicles come down this street and pass through this water. Not a smart idea. Simply because when you get into situations like this, you never know how deep the water can be. That's a big danger here. So the longer we see this floodwater out on the streets, there is a concern about people driving through it. You know, Chris, the concern about seeing more of those rescues, when people are taken over by this fast rushing water.

CUOMO: All right, George, thank you for the reporting. The pace of that water makes it especially dangerous. It makes the forecast that much more important. Let's get to Indra Petersons who's tracking the rain in Colorado and the situation in the rest of the country. Indra, what do we know?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, one of the things we keep looking at is how much rain they have received. A lot of places in this region, an average yearly amount of rainfall is between 15 inches to 20 inches of rain. This now is the amount they have seen since just Monday. That really puts in perspective were we're talking about Colorado Springs almost 15 inches of rain already.

Near Jamestown, over 7 inches of rain, and unfortunately, yes, there's still rain in the region and more rain in the forecast. There's just a hint of good news, a little bit of a change in the wind pattern should actually help as we go through the weekend. Remember yesterday we had a huge southerly flow pulling all that moisture from the south.

We were seeing it go up the Rockies, enhancing the amount of rain we would get out of that. As we go through the weekend, we'll see that low shifts to the east and this is actually huge. You'll see those winds start to come more out of the west. It won't pull the moisture as high into Denver, but we'll be seeing a lot more of this into the New Mexico area.

With that, again, we're going to be still looking at another 2 inches to 3 inches of rain still possible over the next several days. The other thing I want to show you, look at the northeast. This is a storm that pushed through yesterday. With that, we're going to be talking about temperatures backing way off. In fact, as we go through the weekend it will feel like fall. We'll have a lot of 60s in the region, but again, put some perspective at least dry.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Keep an eye on the Colorado for us. We'll come back to you. Thank you so much, Indra.

Let's turn to the debate over Syria as Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's foreign minister meet for a second day of talks in Geneva. They've been going over a Russian plan to put Syria's chemical weapons stockpile under international control. Kerry says the talks with Russia will resume later this month as well when the U.N. General Assembly meets here in New York.

Let's head live to CNN's Jim Sciutto, who is with the secretary of state in Geneva. Any encouraging signs this morning, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think, Kate, that's one encouraging sign that they're going to meet again. Secretary Kerry this morning saying that he and Lavrov have a lot of home work to do in the meantime working out the details of this agreement, but you also get the sense of how the time line of these negotiations can sketch out.

Here in Geneva, the morning session is over. As he left that meeting, Secretary Kerry told us that they had a good constructive start to their talks.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Day two of crucial talks aimed at a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis. And the U.S. and Russia still at odds over the time line for the Syrians to comply but this morning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that both countries are committed to finding a solution.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think we would both agree that we had a constructive conversation. We are committed to try to work together beginning with this initiative on the chemical weapons in hopes that those efforts could pay off and bring peace and stability to a war-torn part of the world.

SCIUTTO: U.S. officials say the burden is very much on Syria to prove it is committed.

KERRY: This is not a game and I said that to my friend, Sergey when we talked about it initially. It has to be real.

SCIUTTO: American and Russian experts here are moving immediately to the nuts and bolts of cataloguing, collecting and destroying one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. First test of Syria's commitment say U.S. officials will be whether it provides a full accounting of its stockpiles, including exact locations.

Syrian President Assad made his own demands in a new interview on Russian TV saying, quote, "Syria will accept the Russian plan if America stops military threats and if other countries supplying the rebels with chemical weapons also abide by the agreement."

However, Secretary Kerry was quick to reiterate the U.S. reserves the right to take military action.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Should diplomacy fail, force might be necessary.

SCIUTTO: The negotiations most skeptical observers are the Syrian opposition, described by one U.S. official as upset and distrustful of the entire process. Those doubts were magnified by rebel claims first reported on CNN that Syria has moved some of its weapons to Lebanon and Iraq, claims quickly denied by the Iraqi government and looming over the discussions, a gaping trust deficit between the U.S. and Russia, a point highlighted in the seemingly lighthearted moment just as the talks began.

KERRY: Can you give me the last part of the translation, please?

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: You want me to take your word for it?


KERRY: So, literally for that.



SCIUTTO: U.S. officials tell me this morning that the focus of these talks are on these technical details, including the size and location of Syria's chemical stockpiles. This, of course, essential with the stories swirling of Syria moving their chemical stockpiles around, hiding them in advance of any U.S. military action or in advance of a deal like the one that's being discussed right here. That's a key first test of Syria's and Russia's commitment, how forthcoming are the Syrians with the details of where these chemical weapons are hidden -- Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Jim Sciutto, with the secretary of state in Geneva -- thanks so much, Jim.

CUOMO: All right. A lot of news for you this morning. So, let's get right to John Berman, in for Michaela Pereira with the latest.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great to see you, Chris and Kate.

Making news right now, a U.S. consulate in Afghanistan under attack this morning. The officials say a truck sped toward the front gate of the consulate in Herat. Insurgents fire assault rifles at security before the truck exploded. There is serious damage to the front of the consulate. Nine people are in the hospital but no Americans were killed. The Taliban tells CNN it is responsible for this attack.

Al Qaeda's leader threatening the United States, urging followers to land a large strike and provoke the U.S. into spending more money on security. That audio message from Ayman al-Zawahiri was posted on the Internet the day after the U.S. honored the victims of the September 11th attacks. He used the Boston marathon bombing as an example of continued attacks on American soil.

New developments in connection with the Boston marathon bombing. Arraignment day for three of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the investigation. Also, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's in-laws appeared before a grand jury Thursday. Tamerlan was killed in a gun battle with police and reportedly hit by an SUV that his brother Dzhokhar was driving when he fled the scene.

Another shark bite in Florida, leaving a 13-year-old girl with a cut on her heel. Lucky. New Smyrna Beach officials tell CNN affiliate WKMG the girl was surfing in shallow water at the time. She was taken to the hospital. She's still recovering.

Several other shark bites have been reported along Volusia. The spike is being contributed to cloudy water and higher than normal bait fish.

All right. Everyone is going to want to see this picture. There they are, the duke and duchess of Cambridge step out for the first time since the birth of their little prince. We all call our kids little prince and little princess. But that kid is a little prince.

Prince William, in an absolutely dazzling Kate Middleton, hitting the red carpet Thursday for a gala honoring conservation efforts for Africa. During his speech, William warned the crowd that he and Kate would probably sneak glances at their cell phones to make sure things are all right at home.

They're just like us. Make sure things are OK at the house.

BOLDUAN: Just like in the magazines. They're just like us. You need to check and see if the palace has called.

CUOMO: No parents are immune from the paranoia.


BOLDUAN: Tanks, Jim, John, Bob.

CUOMO: Great to have you.

BOLDUAN: What's wrong with me? Don't go into it.

CUOMO: We've got news about a big deal, a big tweet that's happening and it's not even mean.


CUOMO: Twitter is revealing that it's going public. We're going to tell you why this might be perfect timing.

BOLDUAN: This is why I didn't know John's name because I was focused on this, football fanatics counting down the hours to Manning versus Manning. Peyton and Eli squaring off Sunday when the Giants host the Broncos. Why this could be the last time ever the Mannings go head to head.


CUOMO: Very good.

BOLDUAN: One can dream.


CUOMO: Aspirational music to be sure.

Welcome back to NEW DAY.

What are we talking about? Well, true to form, Twitter tweeted Thursday that it submitted plans for an IPO to the SEC.

Twitter is the next big technology company to go public since Facebook's much hyped IPO in May of last year. They're hoping for a better launch there.

But could this be the perfect moment to hit the market? That's the big question.

Christine Romans is here to complain.

ROMANS: It is a perfect time to hit the market for this company and here's why. Because it's got to grow, right? And when you have an IPO, an initial public offering, what you're doing is you're going to the public and you're saying let us have some money and you can have a share of our company and then we can grow. So, that's what Twitter is trying to do here.

Twitter has about 00 million users. It's got something like 400 million tweets every single day. It's got to grow. And this is how it's going to try to do that. It will make the founders very, very rich.

CUOMO: We raise the question of timing. Why is it so important and how is it looking right now?

ROMANS: Well, you look at the environment, for example. Facebook had a horrible debut last year. But now, it's at record highs, $45 a share. I mean, just this Wednesday, it hit record high.

Look, so now, it's starting to prove it can make money on mobile and for a social media company, Facebook, doing well. LinkedIn, the same story, it is having a really good run. LinkedIn stock also hit a record high on Wednesday.

So, people who are looking at social media as an investment vehicle are looking at some of the other stocks saying this is a good time for Twitter to do it.

BOLDUAN: And a question when it come to social media is often, how are we going to make money?

ROMANS: That is a big question for Twitter here. Now, we know they make money right now through sponsored content, through sponsored links. BOLDUAN: Do they make that much money.

ROMANS: They're projected to have revenue by $950 million by 2014. They're not there yet, they're not there yet.

But now, by going public, they're going to have to prove they're making money. They're going to have to prove that these 200 million, 300 million users, these sponsored tweets are going to be able to make money for them.

They've been making acquisitions. You can see the last one on this list, MoPub, an advertising related company. They're trying to figure how they can, the word on Wall Street, it's monetize us. So, how they can monetize? All of us and all of the eyeballs who are on Twitter.

BERMAN: Money guru Christine Romans, do we buy?

ROMANS: I say you never buy an IPO. When it was a Facebook IPO, people were screaming at me. It was the first chance for retail investors to get into something, it was going to make them rich. And they got slammed for the first year, right?

So, the reason you go public, then you can look under the hood, then investors can see the books, see the numbers, right? You want to see the track record of companies. It's sexy, this IPO will be sexy. No question. It could shot up or it could be another disaster like Facebook. I doubt it because I have a feeling the investor bankers are going to try to make sure that don't happen again.

But I always say, buyer beware.

BOLDUAN: Do not use sexy to describe your investment strategy.

ROMANS: This is true.

BERMAN: Sultry but not sexy.

BOLDUAN: There you go.

CUOMO: What I like is the picture behind Christine on your screens right now is of a handheld with a tweet on it. It is from the pope, in Italian.


ROMANS: I'm saying sexy.

BOLDUAN: It says buy now.

CUOMO: I wonder if that is portentous for a good IPO. The pope up there.

BOLDUAN: Blessing.

CUOMO: They're praying for a good IPO.

ROMANS: It is the first IPO I ever heard of that has been announced with a tweet and it was cute because the second tweet after that --

CUOMO: Was hate.

ROMANS: No. Exactly. No, was Twitter saying, now everyone get back to work to its own employees. The founders of this company could very well be very, very rich after this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, even more so. Thank you.

Coming up next, Manning versus Manning, two brothers, three Super Bowl rings between them, set to go head-to-head on Sunday. We'll let you know why Eli and Peyton are dreading this dream matchup but I love it.

CUOMO: Listen to this, J.K. Rowling has a big new deal, not another Harry Potter book but there will be plenty of wizardry. Everything you need to know about the author's latest project, right here on NEW DAY.