Return to Transcripts main page
WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Firefighters Rescue 65 People From Tower Block; At Least 12 Dead In Massive London Fire; Republican Congressman, Four Others Shot; May Promises "Proper Investigation" Into London Fire; Police: Unlike; to Find London Supports Tower Fire Victims; Republican Congressman and Four Others Shot; Wounded Congressman in Critical Condition; Trump Calls for Unity After Virginia Shooting. Aired 3-5p ET
Aired June 14, 2017 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Clarissa Ward in London. This is a special two-hour edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. Here in the British capital,
tough questions are being asked after a horrific fire turned an apartment building, you can see it behind me now, into a charred shell.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Richard Quest in New York with all the details on the shocking attack on American members of Congress. We're
going to have that for you and all the details from what the president had to say about it in this hour. However, we do, of course, begin in London
WARD: Well, it is the home for more than 100 families which for hours has been the scene of unimaginable horror. A massive fire tore through that
huge Tower Block, you can see it behind me, trapping residents in their homes.
We've been hearing harrowing stories of people jumping from the building. One woman reportedly throwing her baby to a man on the ground. So far we
know at least 12 people are dead. Police do say, though, that that number is expected to rise.
Almost 80 people have been taken to the hospital, 18 of them are still in critical condition. Meantime, it has emerged that residents actually
voiced concerns about safety in the tower block going back a number of years. Two hundred firefighters battled the inferno for hours, rescuing 65
people. Our Erin McLaughlin brings us up to date on how the horror unfolded.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive fire in West London had caught hold in a 24-story Tower Block that housed hundreds of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody, this is a dedicated line for this incident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard shouting, it's getting bigger. It's getting bigger. I go to the front door. I look through the spy hole and opened
the door and see what's going on. Neighbors were running out and people were screaming there's a fire, get out of the block, get out of the block.
It was just spreading like wildfire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as I run out, I saw already the fire on one side. Inside we didn't know what's going on because nothing came inside
and we didn't know. No alarm, no water, nothing, like it was very shocking.
MCLAUGHLIN: Forty fire engines and 200 firefighters battled through the night to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters say they had never
experienced anything like it.
DANY COTTON, COMMISSIONER OF THE LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: I have never seen a fire of this nature before in my 29-year history. It's a completely
unprecedented nature and it will require some further investigation quite clearly.
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: It's extremely distressing and devastating. Can I begin by saying my thoughts and prayers as I'm sure the thoughts and
prayers of the entire country are with the family and friends of those in the building and affected by this tragic and horrific fire.
MCLAUGHLIN: Witnesses described the chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just horrific. It's so awful to see. I'm watching people at the windows waving and shouting for help and screaming.
And then just seeing their flats engulfed with smoke and not knowing whether they were going to be safe or not, would be able to get out. It
was just horrible to see. Sad. We felt completely helpless. We just couldn't do anything.
MCLAUGHLIN: As politicians expressed their sorrow, families were evacuated to local community centers. Scores of people are being treated in
hospitals across London, many of them still in critical condition. The fire is now under control, but the fear is that the death toll will
continue to rise. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
WARD: Well, let's get more now on this horrific incident. We have Nina Dos Santos who is close to the scene and also Hannah Vaughan Jones joins me
now from Downing Street. Hannah, let me begin with you. We're expecting to hear from Prime Minister Theresa May any moment now, is that right?
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clarissa, some problems with me being able to hear you. The answer is Theresa May has said very, very
little indeed. She did take to Twitter earlier on today to say that she was deeply upset, deeply saddened by what had happened in West London.
I should say as well that a British TV crew have gone inside Downing Street just in the last half hour or so and we understand that the prime minister
will be giving an on-camera briefing as some point and of course, we'll bring that to you as soon as we hear it.
In terms of other central government activities that have been happening over the course of the day, there was a cross-party meeting that took place
this afternoon in the corridors of Whitehall.
[15:05:07]That meeting was chaired by Nick Herd, who is the minister for policing and fire. Nick Herd himself had been down at Grenfell earlier
today in order to show support for the local community and praise the local authorities and emergency services as well.
Nick Herd has said in the aftermath of that meeting that he sought to reassure the public, reassure the public, not just in and around West
London who have been directly affected by this fire but also other people, other residents in Tower Blocks across the country who may not be concerned
about fire safety.
Why will they be concerned? Because many of them will end their day looking at pictures like this. This is the "London Evening Standard"
newspaper and you can see that horrendous image of the whole Tower Block up in flames.
There is now a lot of speculation as to whether there will be a public inquiry as well. Who knew what and when about the health and safety
regulations in place throughout this building and some of the suggestions that there has been local people coming forward to central government or at
least to local government as well saying that things were not right with this particular building, questions for central government then to answer
to in the coming days.
WARD: That's right, Hannah, a lot of questions, including who might be responsible for this, how this could happen. I want to go now to Nina Dos
Santos about community center with some of the victims. Tell me, Nina, what you're seeing?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN MONEY EUROPE EDITOR: What we're seeing is quite a chaotic scene behind me. Let me step slightly away from the cameras. You
can see the roads are completely jammed. We still have search and rescue vehicles there from the London Fire Brigade that are trying desperately to
make their way through to Grenfell Tower, which is less than half a mile down the road, Clarissa.
But as you can see their way is being blocked by a lot of people from the community who have come to donate goods to, for instance, this particular
shelter. I'm outside one of the number of charities who have opened their doors to give shelter to those residents who are homeless.
But also to provide them with crucial food, drink, clothing, also people have been coming throughout the course of the day to donate toiletries, for
instance, all of the basics these people find themselves out over the next few days.
We've also seen a huge showing of support from the local community, throwing their doors open. If you need a room, we have an extra room, you
can borrow our sofa, come and stay with us. Just to give people a house over their heads.
This also brings me to the fact that this is a very diverse community with a number of members of the Muslim community who are, of course, observing
Ramadan at this point. As you can see the sun is just setting at the moment which means that it's time for them to break their fast.
That's why we have so many people who have arrived here, opened up the trunks of their vehicles over the last half hour to give out bread and to
give out food to members of the Muslim community so that they can break their fast together and try to find some kind of shelter in these harrowing
I also want to say that the information vacuum is something that people have felt very cleanly here. On the windows of the Rugby Portobello Trust
behind me, there are many numbers that people can call.
In particular, one casualty bureau to find information about missing loved ones. We've heard repeatedly throughout the course of the day of people
calling that line, not getting enough information, perhaps getting misleading information, which they said has just made things even more
difficult for them -- Clarissa.
WARD: Nina, just very quickly, is there any sense of what is going to be done in the long term to help these people? It's wonderful to see the
community rallying to give support in the short term, but these people have lost everything. What happens to them in the coming months, do they know
DOS SANTOS: They don't at this point. There's anger, there's frustration, there's immediate questions about loved ones. We spoke to -- CNN spoke to
one family, the mother was trying desperately to find her 12-year-old daughter. Thankfully her daughter had been traced and she was fine.
But in the chaos that was ensuing around streets like these, she had managed to make it out of the building safety but then she was knocked over
by a passing vehicle. That's the immediate situation that people are trying to deal with here.
Trying to track down loved ones and get essentials to spend the night somewhere, to feed themselves and their families, clothe themselves, wash
themselves but further down the line there are big questions about how to accommodate this large number of people.
Of course, they can't stay at shelters like this and other people's houses when they have opened their doors forever. So there will be big questions
about how to accommodate all these people and as you were saying before, there were urgent questions about how this could have happened and whether
or not others that face safety issues -- Clarissa.
[15:10:06]WARD: OK, Nina Dos Santos, Hannah Vaughan Jones, thank you both very much. I'm joined now by a local counselor, Beinazir Lasharie. First
of all, let me start out by saying from all of us at CNN, our deepest condolences for what's happened, this horrific, horrific tragedy.
Give us a sense, though. We're hearing from so many of the residents now that they had complained before that the fire precautions were not in
place, that they were concerned about what might happen if there was a fire. Give us a sense of how this happened.
BEINAZIR LASHARIE, COUNCILLOR FOR NOTTING DALE WARD: Well, I'm not just a counselor, I'm also an evacuee so that means that I'm homeless with my
children as well because I live a stone's throw from the tower. We were woken by screams of people trying to get out --
WARD: Are you still with us, Beinazir? I'm sure it's been an incredibly emotional day. I hate to tax you, but are you still with us?
LASHARIE: Yes. People are very upset and they have raised concern. People did raise concerns over the years for the safety of the tower before
they refurbished it and while they're refurbishing it, they raised concerns. It seems that they weren't listening, the council was not
listening to people.
WARD: And where are the people, the residents of the building? Do you understand now where they're being taken, where they will be able to stay
not just in the short term but in the long term?
LASHARIE: I wouldn't be able to answer that because I've left the area with my family to safety and I can't go back to my home. But from what I
can see, from the people I've spoken, to there are many community centers open and West Way, there's beds being made for you, there's many churches
around the area. All of the community is coming together to help each other. We are very united and from all races and all religions.
WARD: Tell us, have you heard from your friends and neighbors? Are they OK, do you know?
LASHARIE: There's one I have not heard from -- in fact three people I have not heard from yet.
WARD: What have authorities told you? What have the police or fire department told you?
LASHARIE: We don't know much. We just know --
WARD: OK. I'm so sorry. I can tell this has been just the most nightmarish, hellish day for you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,
with all in your community, your neighbors, your friends, and loved ones. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us and I hope you'll
keep checking in with us as the night progresses. Thank you.
We've witnessed all day how this community is coming together to care for its own. Earlier my colleague, Isa Soares, spoke to a bishop who has been
counseling first responders and survivors and he paid tribute to the remarkable community that he's a part of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM TOMLIN, BISHOP OF KENSINGTON: It's a community that is very varied here with many different ethnicities, religions. But actually something
like this draws out the underlying, God-given humanity in all these people and brings them together. I was talking to someone who said I've got my
house down the road, a spare bed, what can I do.
I said come back to the church later tonight and if there are people that need someplace to stay and instead of the hard floor of the church, it
might be they'd stay with you for the night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: I'm joined now by Fire Brigade Union Executive Ian Lehair. Ian, thank you so much for joining us. Just wondering if you can give a sense,
obviously it's incredibly rare to see that kind of a blaze in London, such a big building.
[15:15:07]Can you try to explain to us how this could happen in this day and age, Ian?
IAN LEHAIR, FIRE BRIGADE UNION EXECUTIVE: I think it's virtually impossible for me at this moment in time to explain how this could happen.
It shouldn't have happened. At the end of the day, these buildings are constructed in such a way that they should keep people safe in the event of
I think what we witnessed today is an unprecedented fire spread that firefighters weren't prepared for, would not have seen before, and I think
they have actually heroically in their efforts to put the fire out and get as many people out of the building as possible.
We've also got some members that have been -- large numbers that have called and spoke to them on the phone. So I think what's you've seen today
is acts of heroism that I've certainly not witnessed in my time of 20 years plus of the fire service.
WARD: I mean, we're hearing there were no fire alarms in the building, there were no sprinkler systems, that people, residents had been told in
the case of a fire to sit tight and stay in their apartments. What's your reaction when you hear that?
LEHAIR: Well, that is the fire service policy. To put it mildly, if the building is constructed in such a manner as this building, it should keep
people alive, because it should offer an element of protection for in excess of 60 minutes and people should be safe in those houses.
I think the rapid fire spread is now going to require answers to questions of an investigation and inquiry into this fire to see if there's any
learning of lessons that we need to have to prevent a reoccurrence in another building.
WARD: Give us a sense, you know, for most of us who simply don't understand the incredibly brave work that firefighters do, give us a sense
what it is like to arrive on the scene of a blaze of this scale and this nature. What is the priority for firefighters in that situation? How do
they even begin to tackle an inferno like what we saw last night?
LEHAIR: Their priority would have been to try to get that fire extinguished as quickly as possible. They would have rushed to that
building in order to find the seat of the fire and try to extinguish it.
When they turned up, I think the devastation that they encountered made their job extremely challenging. I think they would not have been prepared
for it. I wouldn't have been prepared for it if I had to go to the scene of the fire.
I think seeing firefighters leaving this area today confirms to me that they work to complete exhaustion. Many of them do feel they have done
everything they possibly can. I have to agree with them. I don't think they have done any more than was expected of them. I think they have gone
above and beyond the call of duty.
WARD: And, you know, when they're arriving on the scene and it's such a tall building, is there any way to even begin to try to save the people
living on those upper floors?
LEHAIR: I didn't quite get the question, but I think you were suggesting was there any way they could get to the people on the upper floors. I
mean, I can tell you now that firefighters used every endeavor to get as high into that building to get people out of there as possible.
They would have put their lives on the line in order to save one person, and I can confirm that. I spoke to some firefighters today and they
genuinely believe that they could possibly have died in this fire. They were not prepared to give up, they knew the public needed us and they went
in there and done their job, and they did it in a professional way and in a right way.
WARD: And is it fair to say that these firefighters have likely never experienced a blaze like this before in their careers?
LEHAIR: I very much doubt it, I very much doubt they would have ever seen anything quite as devastating and as speedily fire spread as what they
witnessed today. I've certainly never seen it in 20 years plus and I think this scale of the fire would have been something that they could not train
for and they would not have expected to meet when they came here.
WARD: OK, Ian, thank you so much for joining us.
Still to come, tonight we're learning new details about the gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers near Washington today.
[15:20:05]President Donald Trump says many lives would have been lost if it weren't for the heroism of police.
QUEST: President Trump is calling for unity after a shocking attack on Republican lawmakers who were practicing a baseball game for a charity
Here's what we know on the story right now. The gunman has been identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson. His social media sites are full of rants
against President Trump and the Republican Party.
Authorities say he opened fire at a baseball field near Washington this morning. In doing so, he wounded Congressman Steve Scalise and four other
people. Now we're hearing that Scalise's condition is being described as critical following surgery.
The police fired back. They disabled the gunman who later died of his injuries. President Trump addressed the nation after the attack. He
offered prayers and condolences to the victims and he urged Americans to come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone
who serves in our nation's capital are here because above all they love our country.
We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace and that we are
strongest when we are unified.
And when we work together for the common good. Please take a moment today to cherish those you love and always remember those who serve and keep us
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The FBI is investigating the gunman's rants on social media as it searches for a motive. He was a supporter of the former Democratic
presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and even apparently volunteered for his campaign. Sanders went to the Senate floor to express his disgust.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am sickened by this despicable act and let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any
kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through
nonviolent action and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The officers on security detail at the ballpark are being praised for the quick actions that saved lives.
[15:25:09]More now from Tom Fuentes, a CNN senior law enforcement analyst. From my understanding of what happened this morning, it was only because
ironically Steve Scalise was a senior member of the Republican party, one of the whips, that he had with him a Capitol Police security detail, police
detail, that they were able to return fire with such rapidity, otherwise to quote I think yourself and others, it would have been a killing field.
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely, Richard. It would have been a massacre. As you mentioned, it just happened that
Representative Scalise qualifies as a senior member of the House of Representatives. He qualifies for his own security detail. The two
officers from the Capitol Police that were with him.
Otherwise there would have been no one from the Capitol Police there and they would have had to rely on just the quick response from the Alexandria
local police department.
And that response apparently was pretty quick, two, three, four minutes, but when you can fire with a semiautomatic rifle, which you can fire 700
rounds per minute, that's a long time to wait for police to arrive.
QUEST: And Hodgkinson by all accounts actually said to one Congressman, are you Democrats -- which party was playing. This is extraordinary,
because first the relative lack of security for so many members of Congress in position in one place.
But I guess, you would tell me, Tom, this is -- this is what normal life looks like. These are people going about their everyday business playing a
game of baseball, ready for a charity match next week?
FUENTES: Yes. I would add to that normal life for people with short memories. You know, it's been six years since the attack on Congresswoman
Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, where a number of people were gunned down and killed, and she was severely wounded with head injuries in that
And people talked about we're going to have increased security on our members of Congress, and we're going to do all kinds of additional
measures. Six years later, it's back to normal business as usual.
QUEST: Tom, if we accept that he can't make people 100 percent secure, and this might have been obviously the other extreme, virtually no security.
But here we have a 66-year-old man who was not known to the authorities. The FBI says is not on their radar. So short of a full-scale security
cordon, is there ever anything that one can do against, and this is my word, not yours or anybody else's, a lunatic?
FUENTES: Well, that's true. If you have a garden variety psychopath or a lunatic, as you say, that decides within his own head to go do this and he
hasn't told anybody else that he intends to, other than the rhetorical postings apparently that Trump and his people should be destroyed, but it's
not a direct threat to go do it, so it doesn't indicate for sure.
Now, in the investigation, the FBI and the police are going to contact everybody they can find that knows him, that's dealt with him, relatives,
co-workers, neighbors, to see if he's expressed any of that verbally to them besides just the Facebook and Twitter tweets.
But yes, it's almost impossible to do. The other question is when you have that large of a gathering of members of Congress, the Republicans and
Democrats on a separate baseball field, should there be something more better than nothing?
QUEST: Tom, briefly, it doesn't make any difference to the result, I accept, but to the investigative authorities, does it make a difference if
it is sort of the lone wolf lunatic, who's on a frolic of his own, versus, say, recognized ISIS coordinated attack? It obviously makes no difference
to the result, but one would be more disconcerting, or maybe not. You tell me, you're the expert.
FUENTES: Well, in a free democratic society, you know, the FBI, and shame on the FBI that they're unable to read minds. If he didn't tell anybody
that he's going to do this and he's just one of 100 million other Americans that own semiautomatic weapons, there's nothing they can do if they can't
learn of someone's intent to do an act like this. If he didn't tell anybody, there's no way to figure it out until he does it.
QUEST: Tom, thank you. Thank you for joining us.
FUENTES: You're welcome.
QUEST: We will continue our special coverage on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. You're going to hear the account of one survivor who says the fire alarm he
heard wouldn't have awakened anybody.
Clarissa Ward is in London to bring you that and the latest on the investigation. I'm here in New York to bring you the latest on the story
on the attack of U.S. congressmen.
[15:30:00] It is THE WORLD RIGHT NOW.
WARD: Hello and welcome back to a special extended edition of THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. We are focused on the aftermath and the investigation of a
massive fire here in London.
Residents were trapped in that building behind me in their homes as smoke and flames ripped through that 24-story tower. People say at least 12
people are dead. Police say at least 12 people are dead, but they do expect that number to rise. And we know now that residents had, for years,
been voicing concerns about safety.
Firefighters say they have reached every floor of the tower, that the blaze is under control. And you can see the exhaustion and determination in some
of these photographs, but their work is not over yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE APTER, DIRECTOR OF SAFETY AND ASSURANCE, LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: We intend to be here until the job is done. Working alongside my colleagues,
my Blue Light colleagues and my local authority colleagues, we will do everything we can to conclude this incident. We certainly intend to be
here through the night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Our Fred Pleitgen has been following the investigation all throughout the day and he joins us now. Fred, tell us what you're seeing,
what you're hearing.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Clarissa. Well, I think there's really two points of criticism that many of the
people that we've been speaking to, both people who were inside that building and managed to get out but also some who live around the area,
because we have to keep in mind that this is a very close-knit community.
And people who live around here know a lot of the folks who were inside that building and who were living inside that building, and there really
are two main points of criticism that we're hearing here.
One of them is about the building itself and some of the refurbishing work that's been going on there. And apparently, as you said, for years, people
have been going forward, writing to the council and saying they're not sure whether some of that refurbishing work really is contradictory to a lot of
the fire safety. A lot of that has to do with some of the cladding that was put on the outside of the building.
And it was really interesting to see some of the videos where the Fire Department says that they were surprised by the fact that this blaze went
from being on the bottom floors, you know, a raging fire but not out of control, to all of a sudden going very quickly up the side of the building.
And there are some people here who have some serious questions about whether or not some of that new cladding that was put on the building may
have been responsible for that. That's certainly going to be one of the things that investigators are going to be looking at.
Then there's the fact that there was only one staircase for people to get down. Folks that we've been speaking to who got out of the building say it
was very difficult for them, that there was a lot of congestion there.
[15:35:06] And on top of that, there's also some confusion as to what the advice was from the local council as to what people should do if there was
a fire. In fact, people are saying they were told to stay inside their apartments because they felt that there would be enough time for the Fire
Brigade to respond and to put any sort of fire out.
But, of course, we know, in this case, the fire spread so quickly and became so big so quickly that it was impossible for even the many fire
engines and firefighters who went into the building and were outside of the building to put it out in time. And, of course, many, many people were
left trapped inside that gigantic burning building, Clarissa.
WARD: Horrifying. And police are saying, Fred, that at least 12 people have been killed. They do expect that number to rise. I wonder, do you
have any sense, from talking to people, as to how many people are still missing, how many people may have been in that building who are unaccounted
PLEITGEN: You know, it's very difficult to say because right now there are several lists going around of people who are still missing and unaccounted
And I spoke to one gentleman who actually lives in the building adjacent to the one that caught fire, and he says that he still has nine people who he
knows who, at this point in time, are unaccounted for. There's other people that we've been speaking to who say they are still looking for their
relatives, but their relatives' phones are off. They have no idea where their relatives are.
But it's very difficult for the authorities to put together some sort of centralized list. They're working towards that. They're also telling
people who might be on some sort of list but who are actually safe to go to the authorities and tell them that they're safe, simply because this
information, of course, is so valuable and so important to try and narrow things down and see how many people are still unaccounted for.
At this point in time, it really is unclear. But I can tell you, from standing here at this position and from seeing some of the folks who are
looking at this building, who are right here at the edge of the police cordon, there are many people who are still very, very concerned about
their loved ones whom they haven't heard from since last night, Clarissa.
WARD: And what an agonizing wait that must be. Our Fred Pleitgen on the scene. Thank you so much.
Well, by all accounts, the fire spread fast, and some people are saying they heard no alarm or the alarm was simply not nearly loud enough. One
survivor explained what it felt like to be inside the building in those terrifying moments.
MICHAEL PARAMASIVAN, EYEWITNESS: Just as I'm crashing up, I smell something, like plastic-y. And I thought, one second, do we got a candle
or another device is in the house? Well, let me just go and check all the plugs.
So I got up, checks all the plugs, (inaudible). Checked the heat. It was all OK. Went into the kitchen, open the window, sparked up a cigarette,
and I heard shouting. "It's getting bigger, it's getting bigger."
Well, wat's going on there? And I could smell the smell even stronger. So I go to the front door, I've looked through the spy hole, and there was
just smoke everywhere. So I've opened the door to see what's going on. There's neighbors all running out, people are screaming. There's a fireman
and he's going, "Get out the block, get out the block."
So I'm only in my boxers, I ran back in, put my dressing gown on, grabbed my little girl, put her under my dressing gown, got my girlfriend up, and
ran down the stairs, down to the ground floor and out, and then looked up. And it was literally how we got out.
Half of the block was ablaze by the time we got down, and it was just spreading like wildfire. All the cladding on it, it looked like it was
just going up and up and up.
And there weren't no proper fire alarm. It was very light. "Beep," you know. It won't going to wake no one up or nothing like that.
And then there was no fire disaster (ph). It was like they weren't doing nothing for ages. It was just burning. You know, it was like, "get a move
on," and they're just pushing away forever and forever up the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what was the smoke like as you were trying to get out of the block?
PARAMASIVAN: Thick black. Thick black. If I fell asleep, we'd have all been dead. That's how bad it was, 100 percent.
WARD: Of course, there are a lot of questions now about whether this catastrophe could have been prevented. I'm joined now with a man to help
explain whether that is a possibility.
Martin Kealy is the principal fire consultant at MKA Fire. He also chairs a committee on fire safety engineering. Thank you so much for joining us.
Just explain to us because it's a little baffling to hear these stories. Residents were told to stay in their apartments. They didn't hear a fire
alarm. There didn't appear to be a sprinkler system. What's your first reaction to this?
MARTIN KEALY, PRINCIPAL FIRE CONSULTANT, MKA FIRE: Well, this is a very old building, so when it was originally designed, it would not have had a
sprinkler system. If it was designed now, it would have a sprinkler system.
And the evacuation process today, for these types of building, is to stay in place. There will be no fire alarm in the common areas. So there will
be a fire alarm in your apartment to let you know something was going on, so you then could escape via the single staircase.
WARD: The single staircase, because that's the other problem here, isn't it?
WARD: No real escape route except for one single --
KEALY: Well, the single staircase is normally enough. If you were to design this to American codes, it would have two staircases and fully
sprinkled. Whereas, at the moment, the U.K. would only require one staircase and sprinklers.
WARD: So this is standard practice? There are potentially a lot of other buildings across London with no sprinklers, no alarms, and one single
[15:40:00] KEALY: Yes, that will be the case.
WARD: Do you think there should be a review following this event?
KEALY: Well, regulations have changed. We now require sprinklers for all high rises, but there is no requirement to retrofit sprinklers into high
WARD: So do you think there should be, though?
WARD: Yes. OK. My question then becomes, how did the blaze spread so quickly? Explain to us this idea because I think a lot of our viewers
don't understand what cladding is and how this, seemingly, went up in flames in a matter of minutes.
KEALY: Yes. The type of fire that everyone's seen on the news this morning is very similar to the sorts of fires you've seen in Dubai, where
the fire travels very quickly up the external facades.
So we don't know exactly what the cladding is, but we expect it's some sort of aluminum composite panel. The interior of these panels may or may not
be combustible. If they are combustible, the fire will spread very quickly up the outside.
WARD: But apparently, the people who make these panels or the cladding have been telling residents that they're not responsible. I guess my
question becomes, who is responsible for this?
KEALY: The building designers and the Building Control Authority. Both of them together approved the building and put in the appropriate fire
measures. If those appropriate fire measures aren't there, the building is not safe, so.
WARD: So take me through again because you said the idea is to remain in your flat or your apartment.
WARD: I would think if my building was on fire, I would want to get out of my apartment.
WARD: But explain the logic of this to me.
KEALY: The logic is, in the old days, when each apartment/flat was a fire shoebox --
KEALY: -- it's basically a fire encasement, so you're expected to stay where you are. If the fire gets out of control, the Fire Brigade will
knock on the door and ask the next person to evacuate.
KEALY: The staircase should be safe to evacuate. If there should fire, stairwell and fire protectant.
WARD: So for other people living in buildings like this, tonight in London and frankly in other cities as well across the world, what's your advice to
them if a fire like this does happen?
KEALY: Well, you wouldn't know until it was too late because there is no fire alarm system that connects your apartment to someone else's apartment.
The problem with these sorts of buildings is if someone burns their toast, the fire alarm goes off, and it becomes a nuisance and people turn the
alarms off. They tamper with them, so it's not a sustainable fire alarm system.
WARD: OK. Well, Martin Kealy, thank you so much for your analysis --
KEALY: Thank you.
WARD: -- and perspective, helping us try to understand it because it is a little hard to understand how, in this day and age, a building like that
could go up in just a matter of minutes with so many people trapped inside.
Well, some witnesses knew people inside the tower. One man described watching the fire spread quickly as he actually tried to contact two family
members who were trapped inside. Listen to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it's incredible. And this morning I've heard sirens, fire engine, police sirens, ambulance sirens. I looked out and I
thought, well. But when I went to my bedroom, I looked through my bedroom window. I saw Grenfell so on fire.
I rushed down because we've got two members of my family live in there. My sister-in-law and her family and my brother-in-law and his family. I wake
up my daughter to phone her auntie and her uncle.
And by the time we got out, which is about less than five minutes, half of the building was on fire. And then when we rushed down before the police
and everybody got near us, we could see people waving and people screaming from the windows on one side, but the other side was almost in fire.
The last time I spoken to my sister-in-law, she said that the smoke is coming through the door. And she said they advised them to go to another
room. So I said what did you do? She said the smoke is coming heavily, but we took the kids and ourselves to another room, and that was the last
time we've spoken to them.
And the fire was moving so fast, I've never seen it. I couldn't believe something like this happened in London in the 21st century. At the moment,
we don't know who is dead and who is alive. We couldn't get hospitals because hospitals are telling us they have to be assisted first before we
can tell you their names. Some of them probably out in coma, some of them can't at all -- we don't know. We don't know because nobody is telling us
what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How does this make you feel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, please. At the moment, we're expecting the worst because the more time goes by, it's not getting any better for the whole
family. It's five members. It's not just one or two, it's five.
It's shock, angry, disappointed. This incident can easily be prevented. This incident can be prevented.
[15:45:08] WARD: Well, London is still dealing with the impact of the terrorist attack that took place just 11 days ago, but Borough Market
reopened today, a sign of the city's incredible resilience.
WARD: The opening bell rang this morning and the normally busy market got back to business. It had been boarded up since a vehicle and knife attack
killed eight people on June 3rd.
Well, we have just heard from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, talking about this horrifying blaze that took place last night. She is
promising an investigation. We will bring you her comments right after this break. Coming up.
QUEST: Welcome back. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Allow me to update you on the shooting that took place outside Washington, a shooting that
targeted Republican lawmakers and their aides. They were taking part in a baseball practice.
Congressman Steve Scalise is still in critical condition after undergoing surgery. Four people were wounded, and that includes two Capitol Hill
police officers who returned the fire.
And those police at the ballpark are now being praised for saving lives. They fired back at the gunman, a 66-year-old man, disabling him. He later
died in hospital from his injuries. Authorities have identified the gunman as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson. His social media sites are full of rants
against President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
The witnesses to the shooting are describing terrifying scenes as it all unfolds. And what they told CNN made for a truly horrific experience for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MO BROOKS (R), ALABAMA (via phone): And then I see what appears to be a rifle and then a quick succession of shots. I see the shooter. He's
probably about 80, 90 feet away from me because I'm on the third base side of home plate. And I figure out, you know, if I can see him, he can see
And I'm lying on the ground with two or three other folks behind this plastic near home plate, and I'm thinking, well, you know, a bullet will go
through that, but he can't see me. But then again, he might come around the third base dugout or around home plate and have a clean shot at us, but
we have nothing but baseball bats to fight back against a rifle with.
MARTY LAVOR, EYEWITNESS: I started to get up and somebody in the dugout literally saved my life because they said, "Stay down."
It was surreal. I mean, it couldn't be happening. This was a practice for a charity baseball game, and so it was totally unexpected.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The Alexandria shooting appears to be, quote, "a deliberate attack." Do you feel as though --
BROOKS (via phone): Well, it sure as heck wasn't an accident.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think, with absolute certainty, nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police. They saved
[15:50:05] NOAH MATHON, EYEWITNESS: But it seemed to go on for a good five or 10 minutes, and I was just sort of laying on the ground, pretty
helpless. I couldn't really do anything.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I got Steve Scalise's phone and called his wife. And I just didn't want her to wake up and hear the news and not know
what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of this?
FLAKE: What do you make of it? I have no idea. I have no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: An update. Let's get an update on the Congressman's situation who was critically injured in the shooting. CNN's Brian Todd is outside the
hospital in Washington where he's being treated.
What do we know about the condition of not only the Congressman, but also those police officers who heroically returned fire?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Richard, what we can tell you about Congressman Scalise, we just learned from hospital officials here. This is
the MedStar Washington Hospital Center behind me. This unit specializes in trauma care and emergency surgeries.
Congressman Scalise was brought here earlier today. We're told he is finished with surgery. It's not clear if he's going to have a second
surgery, but he is in critical condition. And that is the most severe condition that someone can be in.
According to the American Hospital Association, that's when the patient's vital signs are unstable and outside of normal limits, and the patient may
be unconscious. So that is the condition that this congressman, Steve Scalise, is in at the moment. He's in critical condition.
A hospital official told me he was in critical condition when he arrived here and he remains in --
QUEST: I need to interrupt you, and I need to take you immediately to London. The British Prime Minister.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: Sadly, the police expect that number to rise further. My thoughts are with the victims, their
families, and all of those who have had their home destroyed. It's impossible to comprehend the horror of what they have been going through.
The response of people living nearby who provided help, compassion, and support has, I think, once again, shown the fantastic spirit of London.
Earlier today, I ordered a cross-government meeting to ensure that every assistance was being given to manage the emergency service response, and
that group will meet again tomorrow.
And once again, our emergency services, the fire service, ambulance, NHS, and police have shown incredible bravery working in truly appalling
conditions. And their work will continue for some time. And I know everybody will want to join me in thanking them for their amazing bravery.
Many people will be working around the clock in the NHS to treat those who have been injured and working elsewhere to provide help and support to
those who have no home to return to.
Of course, once the scene is secure, once the recovery is complete, then an investigation will take place into the cause of the fire and if there are
any lessons to be learned. But until then, our focus must be on ensuring that the emergency services have what they need to continue with their
harrowing work and that help and support is being provided to all those who have suffered as a result of this tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the meeting of the civil contingency secretaries, it was agreed that further checks are going to be carried out on similar tower
blocks. What would you say to those who say that perhaps this should have happened before? And there are some claims also that the government, last
year, promised to bring in tougher regulations and that's not happened?
MAY: Well, our focus today is on ensuring that there is every support available to the emergency services in their really difficult work in these
terrible conditions, but also in providing help and support to all those who have been victims. And we must remember that there are people tonight
who have no home to go home to. They have lost absolutely everything, so our focus must be on providing support to them.
Of course, as I say, in due course, when the scene is secure, when it's possible to identify the cause of this fire, then, of course, there will be
proper investigation. And if there are any lessons to be learned, they will be, and action will be taken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how are your talks with the DUP going?
MAY: We are continuing to have talks. But today, as you will imagine, there has been a real focus on this terrible tragedy that has taken place
in London. We've seen people having their homes completely destroyed. People have lost their lives. And sadly, the police expect the number of
those fatalities to rise further, and our thoughts must be with all of those affected. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
QUEST: The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, giving her reaction to the appalling fire of the Grenfell Tower. We'll continue our coverage.
[15:54:44] I'm Richard Quest in New York. Clarissa Ward is in London. She'll be back after the break because the news never stops. This is CNN.
WARD: Welcome back. I'm Clarissa Ward in London. We have been focused all hour on the aftermath and the investigation of a massive fire here in
London when flames climbed through the 24-story tower block behind me.
We actually have been looking -- you can still see flames coming out of the windows, although police do say that the fire is under control. They're
also saying, at this hour, at least 12 people are dead, but they do expect that number to rise. We know that residents had, for years, been voicing
concerns about safety. Firefighters say they have reached every floor of the tower.
And Prime Minister Theresa May is promising, quote, "a proper investigation." We are going to be all over this story throughout the next
hour. Stay with us.
[16:00:00] WARD: Good Evening, I'm Clarissa Ward in London.
QUEST: I'm Richard Quest in New York. Tonight, we continue our special coverage of the two major stories. The devastating fire at that at that
tower block in central London. The shooting of a congressman who remains in critical condition in the United States. Clarissa, we'll begin with
you, please, in London.
WARD: That's right, Richard, I'm here in West London where it's almost 24 hours since a ferocious fire ripped through the Grenfell Tower block behind
me. I'm going to ask our cameraman just to push in a little bit. You can actually see parts of the building still on fire, the flames are there.
The firefighters do say that the blaze is under control.
We have now heard from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May who says there will be a proper investigation into the disaster. Here are the
latest developments that we know. The death toll has increased. 12 people are confirmed to have died in the blaze. That's up from six people who
were believed to be dead this morning. The 24-story building was home to more than a hundred families. And the fire was reported just before 1:00
a.m. it spread very rapidly from floor to floor. London's fire chief described the blaze as, quote, unprecedented. It is not known yet what
caused the fire. Police caution the number of victims is expected to rise. It is unlikely that more survivors will be found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMANDER STUART CUNDY, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: Whilst we might have accessed every floor, that's not the same as a full search of the whole
building. And as I said, whilst we currently have sadly 12 fatalities, I do believe that figure will rise. And sadly, I don't anticipate that there
will be further survivors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Firefighters say they have been able to search most of the building. This is now a recovery operation. There will be no more rescues. Joining
us now is Fred Pleitgen who is at the scene. Fred, you have been there almost all day. Tell us what you're hearing, what you're seeing, what
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Clarisse. Of course, a lot of people here are very distressed by the event that have
been unfolding over the past 20 hours now since this fire broke out. And we've been speaking to people who managed to get out of the building. And
they were describing how difficult that was.
There was one eyewitness that I was speaking to who said, that he was sort of dozing off at around 1:00 a.m., and then all of a sudden, he smelled
burning plastic or what he believed to be burning plastic. At the beginning, he thought it was an electrical appliance in his apartment that
was burning. Then he went out on the balcony and then he started hearing screams and then saw that the building was on fire. That's when he took
his family, and he said it was very, very difficult, because first of all he said there was no real alarm to there was a big fire going on. He said
he went into the staircase and it was very congested. Because there was only one staircase for people to get out. When they did get out, there was
this tragic scene of them seeing people who were still trapped inside but they simply couldn't help them because the flames were engulfing the entire
What you have here right now is a community that's obviously, in great grief. There's a lot of sadness. But there is also, some anger developing
as well as people are saying that possibly they believe that the response to this fire or at least the guidance people got, some of them being told
to stay in their apartments and try to wait it out. But that was completely inadequate. And they also say that they believe that perhaps
there were parts of the building itself, where the adequacy of its fire problems there are also called into question as well. Especially some of
the cladding that is put on the house as part of a r refurbishment that took place last year.
And some people were describing how all of a sudden, the flames started climbing up the side very, very quickly. That's one of the reasons why the
suspect maybe it was the cladding that was responsible. But of course, there is going to be an investigation. The authorities are saying they
want to conduct it as fast as possible but also as thoroughly as possible to make sure they find out exactly what happened here. Not only to come
behind what happened in this tragedy but also of course, to prevent further ones from happening in other buildings.
WARD: Absolutely. OK, Fred Pleitgen, on the scene for us, thank you very much.
We have heard some harrowing tales about people trapped inside as the fire tore through the building. Survivors describing the terror they felt when
they realized the building was on fire.
[16:05:00] FEMALE RESIDENT OF GRENFELL TOWER: As soon as I ran out, I saw already the fire holding one side. And inside, we didn't know what's going
on. Because nothing came inside. We didn't know. No alarm, no water, nothing. It was very shocking.
MALE RESIDENT OF GRENFELL TOWER: I saw people jumping out the window. It was crazy. I saw people jumping out the window. What was going on in my
mind I couldn't tell you. Because at the time, I just wanted to save my family.
MICHAEL PARAMASIVAN, RESIDENT OF GRENFELL TOWER: I open the door, she was carrying on. His neighbors running out. People were screaming there's a
fire in there. Get out of the block, get out of the block. I'm wearing my boxers. I ran back in and put my dressing gown on, grabbed my little girl.
Put her under my dressing gown. Got my girlfriend up, ran down the stairs and down to the ground floor and out and then look up. That was literally
how we got out. It was half of the block was ablaze by the time we got down and it was spreading like wildfire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So, what was the smoke like as you are trying to get out?
PARAMASIVAN: Thick black, thick black. As I said if I was asleep we would be dead. That's how bad it was. One hundred percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I saw was incredible. This morning I heard sirens, fire engine, police sirens. I looked out and I thought, well. And
when I went to my bedroom, I looked through my bedroom window and I saw Grenfell Tower on fire. I rushed down, because we got two members of my
family living there, my sister-in-law and her family in my brother-in-law and his family. I wake up my daughter to phone her auntie and her uncle.
By the time we got out which was about like five minutes, half of the building was on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could see toppling things coming out of it, coming out of the building and when my friend told me that he saw people jumping,
like I wasn't sure, I wasn't fully harmed. You know what I mean. I wasn't sure what I was seeing, whether it was people falling out or just debris.
Literally, I don't know. But all I know is there was literally screaming going on all the time, like people shouting in this building. You can hear
WARD: Survivors, family and friends have been gathered at a community center nearby. Nina dos Santos is there for us. She joins us now. Nina,
one can only imagine the magnitude of what people are feeling, the trauma they've been through. Tell us some of the stories they were hearing. How
are people responding? What's being done to help them?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all let's start with the response I'm seeing behind me here at the Rugby Portobello Trust. One
of a number of community centers that have opened its doors to try and give shelter to some of those stricken families, but also crucially the basic
essentials here, Clarissa. As you can see, people are frantically dropping off bags of food, clothing. I've seen everything from babies strollers, to
kids toys, and so on and so forth. Because obviously, these families had literally leave often in their nightwear. In some cases, just slippers on
the soles of their feet. So, these kinds of essentials are really, really important for them. And as you can see this is a very diverse community as
well. And the community inside Grenfell Tower, was known to be very diverse, in particular, a number of residents who were Muslim and who were
also observing Ramadan at the time.
As you can see we do have a number of members of the Muslim community who are dropping off food so that those observant Muslims can break their fast
at the moment. It is of course sundown and they need to get shelter, to get inside to break their fast, because they had been fasting for a number
The kind of tales that were hearing here is ones of confusion. We have on the door of that particular charitable trust and community center, various
numbers for casualty bureaus, for families to call if they have missing loved ones. But the tales we're hearing is that there haven't really been
managing to get much information from those hotlines. In some cases, very distressing when the information is conflicting. We heard the story from
one Eritrean woman who was looking for one of her children, a 12-year-old daughter. She was told that one moment she was fine, then she was missing,
then she had been tracked down to a hospital. But it turned out that wasn't actually the hospital that she was at. So, she's still trying to
find her, although she knows she's OK.
And it's those kinds of moments and the information that sort of led to this huge outpouring of the community here. Many community centers like
this one saying that they are basically overwhelmed. They can't just stop telling local residents to stop bringing certain items. They still need
things like toiletries, but they don't necessarily need more clothing. And I could just tell you in the last half hour or so, I've been watching
arriving with newly bought goods here, Clarissa, because they really want to help.
WARD: Ok, Nina dos Santos joining us from the community center where there is a lot of people waiting for answers, many of them don't know where their
friends, their neighbors, their loved ones are. Obviously, an incredibly difficult situation.
Well, joining me now is Rauben, who actually witness the awful scene. Ruben, thank you so much for joining us. Tell is where you were, what you
saw, what happened?
[16:10:00] RAUBEN, WITNESS: Well, I got up and I went downstairs around about 1 o'clock and the flats were on fire, the building was on fire. And
I filmed it. The police were there and the fire services were there. And I can hear people screaming. That's what woke me up. And they were
screaming help. And there are people at the windows and stuff. And it was quite traumatic, because I've got friends in that building. Who are quite
close acquaintances. And it was just very traumatic, you know.
The fire was raging but it was only a small rage. And then it shot up over both sides of the building. This was due to the plastic cladding. And it
was like inflammable. It wasn't fireproof or whatever, in my opinion. The way that the fire shot up in 15 minutes it was ablaze, the whole block was
ablaze. And if you split the block into two halves, the upper block, I couldn't see how the people could get out. So, I was quite frightened and
worried as I've got a friend on the 23rd floor. So, that's basically what happened here.
WARD: So, Rauben, I mean, what's going through your mind there? You're standing watching the building on fire. You can hear people screaming.
You have friends that live in that building. What was going through your mind? Were you calling the fire department? Were you panicking? Were you
trying to help rescue people? Were people leaving the building yet?
RAUBEN: Yes, I mean, panic was set in my mind, because they wanted to know if my friends were safe. And where the police had cordoned off the area,
we couldn't get past. In one of the neighbors, son-in-law's, were in there, and he came out, and he was safe. So, I was quite glad about that,
But it's just been a hectic day, it's been manic. It's unreal. It's like a film, you know. I mean, these things should never ever happen. And
people are holding the Council, the local Council, there are holding them for justice for this. They want justice for this. But really, I just want
to know my friends are safe. It's been about eight hours later, or whatever it is, and I've heard nothing. I don't know if there safe, in the
hospitals or whatever. And the information is not coming out, so I'm a bit distraught. I've been working at the local Christian church helping out
and the communities come together and the community of Notting Hill is a strong, strong community. But not only that, people have come from all
corners of London, you know, East, South and West. And everybody's band together bringing food, blankets, and giving cuddles and hugs to people,
WARD: Yes, absolutely. And Rauben, these stories of the community coming out are really inspiring. I just want to ask you finally, first of all, is
everybody who you know who lived in the building, OK? And secondly, do you have any sense of how many people might still be missing?
RAUBEN: Can you repeat that?
WARD: I'm just asking if the people that you know who lived in the building, are they OK to the best of your knowledge? And you have any
sense of how many people are still missing?
RAUBEN: I don't have any knowledge of how many people are missing. But out of the nine friends that I know, one is said to be in the hospital, and
the other eight are missing. I don't know what's happened to them, which I'm very, very upset about, you know. I don't know if there alive or dead
or where to look for them or nothing. So, I'm not quite happy about that. It's been a traumatic day.
WARD: Rauben, traumatic I think is an understatement. We feel for you. We're thinking of you. And we thank you for taking the time to come and
talk to us. Thank you very much.
And we are just getting some news now into CNN. The British government has promised inspections of other apartment buildings with refurbishments
similar to the Grenfell Towers. That is according to the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
[16:15:00] Well, in the U.S. baseball is known as America's pastime, but today, outside Washington, it is the backdrop for terror and chaos.
Lawmakers are calling for a change in political discord after a group of their own came under attack.
QUEST: I'm getting new cell phone video on the attack of Republican lawmakers that took place outside Washington. You could hear dozens of
gunshots. And you can see representative Steve Scalise lying on the baseball field wounded as the others rush for cover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIDEO, SHOWS GUN ATTACK
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: I'm just pausing and thinking how terrifying that must've been. It was barely 7, 8:00 in the morning and everybody's just enjoying a practice
game ahead of a charity match. The most normal thing in the day and then you suddenly hear this and wonder where the shots are coming from and how
much of a risk that you are at the moment. Steve Scalise is the third ranking member in the U.S. House of Representatives. Is now out of surgery
and is being described by doctors and hospital as in critical condition. He was shot in the hip after the gunmen opened fire on the group of
lawmakers. They were practicing baseball on a field just outside Washington. There are four victims dad have also been taken to hospital.
The federal law enforcement have named the attacker as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson. He died from his injuries sustained as he exchange fire with
police from the Capitol Hill. My colleague, Brianna Keilar, spoke to representative, Rodney Davis, of Illinois. He was up to bat when the
shooting broke out. And the Congressman blamed the shooting on the heightened partisan rhetoric currently in the United States.
RODNEY DAVIS, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I was batting. We heard a loud noise. It felt like a construction site. Somebody dropped a big piece of
metal. And then the next thing I remember is somebody on the field yelling, run, he's got a gun. I ran into the dugout like most people on
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The first base side dugout?
DAVIS: The first base side dugout. And then eventually worked my way out of the dugout to other cover and disperse. And I got to witness the
heroism of the Capital police that were there. It was a part of Steve Scalise's detail. If they wouldn't have been there, this would've been a
massacre of innocent people.
[16:20:02] KEILAR: They were only there because Steve Scalise is on the team, right?
DAVIS: Ironically, yes. In our thoughts and prayers go out to my good friend Steve Scalise, and also the staffers and former staffers who were
shot to, and the Capital police who were shot.
KEILAR: How long do you think that you are hunkered down in the first base dugout?
DAVIS: I wasn't there long because by the time I got there from home plate, I was on top of a couple of people. I didn't think that was the
best place to be with an open dugout, and I immediately tried to get out of there.
KEILAR: So, what our viewers cannot see, is that you have bloodied elbow, in a bloodied hand. Obviously, there was quite a ruckus as you are trying
to get cover. So, you get out of the dugout and where did you head? Behind it? What kind of cover did you try to go for?
DAVIS: A lot of us went out behind the dugout, took cover behind a building. Eventually when it seem like there was a break in activity, I
and others, we dispersed up into the street and across the street to take cover behind cars. Then when somebody yelled the gunmen is coming around
the corner, we took off down the street and a good Samaritan let us into his apartment so that we could call 911. And then also call my family.
KEILAR: How are you feeling right now?
DAVIS: I'm angry. You know, I got back to my office after, obviously, staying out there for what I thought was way too long but necessary,
because it was a crime scene. I'd never been in one before. I went back to my office and I took the chance to come down here because I want to talk
to people about what I witnessed and about the effect that it should have as we move forward as a country. And that's why I'm here bloodied in my
uniform. Still not had a chance to go clean up. Because it's that important that a message gets out that the hatefulness, this political
rhetoric hate -- would consider, we'll let the witnesses describe it. This could be the first political, rhetorical terrorist act and that has to
KEILAR: How did this change the game? And how does this change just tell members of Congress are concerned about their security?
DAVIS: Well, it has to change. I mean, this has to be a breaking point. I asked the question earlier, is this America's breaking point when it
comes to the political rhetoric best become so hateful? It's my breaking point. That's why I'm here talking to you today. We've got to end this.
We've got to stop it. Because I watched my friend and my fellow member, Steve Scalise, lay motionless on the field. Wondering if was going to be
OK. That is a picture I will never forget.
QUEST: Now Brian Todd is at the hospital where the representative is recovering after surgery. Brian, listening to the Congressman Davis just
talking, he said, wondering if Steve Scalise will be OK. Are you able to answer that question for us?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, I wish I could give you better news. Congressman Scalise is in a fairly severe condition here. He
had just emerged from surgery not too long ago. He is listed in critical condition and that is the most severe condition you can be in, in this
situation. It means that your vital signs are not stable. That a patient could be on conscience in this condition. It is the most severe condition
possible in this situation, Richard. He is in critical condition. The hospital officials told us he was in critical condition when he arrived
here and then he had several hours of surgery and remains in that condition.
There is one other victim of the shooting who is also being treated at this hospital, who we are told is in good condition. So, we have two victims of
the shooting here with us. As for Congressman Scalise, an aide of his told CNN that is not clear if he is going to have a second surgery at this point
or not. The aide said that his wife and two young children were on their way a short time ago from New Orleans to be with him here tonight in
What we were told was that Congressman Scalise was hit. He was struck by a bullet in the hip while he was playing second base, as they were practicing
for a softball game at a field in Alexandria, Virginia. And he dragged himself about 15 yards into the outfield then laid motionless as the
shooting continued. People could not get to him. And then when the shooting stopped people were able to get to him and transport him off the
field where he was helicopter, he was medevac to this hospital earlier today.
We were told by aides to Mr. Scalise, that he was in good spirits and spoke to his wife on the phone before he entered surgery, but now he has emerged
in critical condition, Richard. So, we will, of course, be keeping close tabs on that.
QUEST: Brian, thank you. Please, come back to us the second or the moment that you have more to report on what's happening there.
So, what part of the country are we talking about? For those of you who may not be familiar. Bearing in mind that I'm somewhere there in New York,
300 miles away. This is Washington DC.
[16:25:00] Alexandria, Virginia, a major suburb, Alexandria a part of Virginia, it's about 13 kilometers, 20-minute drive from the U.S. Capitol
building. It's very popular, of course, with Congressman who will have apartments there as well as in their own district, heavy government city,
government town. And many government buildings like the Pentagon, actually located in this area of Virginia, just outside the district across the
bridge and across the Potomac.
Republicans have been practicing on this particular softball ground for every morning at about 6:30 for some time. They were getting ready for
their match, their charity match, Republicans versus Democrats. Capital police are ready on the scene with Scalise security detail. Eyewitnesses
say without them it would have been much worse.
Art Roderick is a CNN law enforcement analysts. He's at the scene in Alexandria, Virginia. This is an extraordinary contradiction in
circumstance, isn't it? 7:30 in the morning, absolutely an opinion me of normality, having a practice before softball game, before charity match.
And out of nowhere this happens. What can you do to prevent this?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, this is a very difficult thing to protect against. If somebody's willing to give their lives to
commit this type of crime. It's almost impossible to stop. Luckily, very luckily, as it's been said, all day here there was a Capital police detail
at the scene at the time of the shooting. Luckily not all Congressman and Senators are protected. Only the leadership is and we had the number three
ranking individual in the House there. So, he had a two-person protection detail. And those capital police officers met the local police here in
Alexandria, know exactly what was going on and that they were going to be here. It sounds to me like it's been a pretty routine thing now that they
come here to this ballfield for practice.
But you are in a single-family home residential area that has a grocery store across the street, a pharmacy, a coffee shop on the corner, a dog
park, a soccer field for kids to play at. So, you're right about the normalcy of it all. And for this to happen at that hour with kids going to
school is pretty horrendous.
QUEST: And here's the other contradiction in terms, ask any Congressman, any member of Parliament, any representative in any democracy, Art, and
they will say that the public must have access to them. Maybe the president goes around in a bubble, but the public must have access. And it
is balancing that access to our elected representatives with the legitimate security they need.
RODERICK: That is the tough problem here, Richard. You're exactly right. Congressman, Senators, they want to have access to the public. They don't
want large protection details on them. I mean, in my time in the U.S. Marshals, I've done protection details on Congressman and Senators when we
received a call from the Capital police to assist in what could have been a contentious meeting, or a town hall meeting. But this is a very difficult
balance to strike and it's got to be looked at.
QUEST: So, the other aspect of this is, which is uniquely American, is the number of guns, 100 million guns, 300 million guns, more guns than people
in this country. Let's not get into the Second Amendment debate, but let's just stick to this idea of a large number of guns, an element of crackpots
and lunatics or political radicals who might want to. This just gives you a different element then say, recognize terrorism, which is an entirely
different set of scenarios and circumstances.
RODERICK: No, you're exactly right. The first thing that came to mind, was this a terrorist attack. And with everything that is been going on
around the world, you know, we forget about just the -- I hate to say it -- but the plain old crazy criminals out there. And this individual fits that
profile. I think we've got a look at -- and I know ATF is assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case. And they'll know pretty
quickly where those weapons that this individual had, came from. Who purchased them? Who assisted him? Who did he talk to? Who was he
QUEST: Art, thank you very much indeed. Good to talk to you and thank you for your perspective on this.
RODERICK: Thank you.
QUEST: Now we must return to the scene of the tower fire in London. Clarissa, I heard you talk earlier to somebody and asking was the fire out
and you heard that it was. But apparently not. What can you tell me?
WARD: Yes, that's right, Richard, we have been told that the fire was under control, but if I just step out the shot and allow our cameraman to
zoom into the building.
[16:30.00] You can see that on the upper floors quite high up there it looks very clearly to see that there is still some kind of a fire blazing.
I think this is not uncommon in a huge fire of this nature where you have an entire building going up in flames. But certainly, there are still a
lot of questions about how this happened, how many people may have been killed? Police so far saying at least 12 dead, but that will likely
increase in we are going to have much more on right after this break.
WARD: Hello, I am Clarissa Ward in London.
QUEST: I am Richard Quest in New York, our special coverage of the terrible fire in London and the shooting of a United States Congressman
continues, allow me though first of all the headlines at this hour.
The fire that has consumed the London apartment building has claimed a dozen lives, and authorities say the death toll is almost certain to rise.
There are many people still missing and of the 78 hospitalized, 18 people are in critical condition. The fire engulfed the 24-story high-rise in the
middle of the night. Many residents of course, were sleeping. Some residents reported concerns about fire safety in the recent past.
Security has been increased on Capitol Hill in Washington after a Republican Congressman and 4 others were shot in Alexandria, Virginia. It
happened during a practice for charity baseball game. The President says the alleged gunman who was shot and has been killed, authorities are not
looking for a motive into the shooting.
[16:35:00] The jurors in the Bill Cosby assault trial have returned to court early, to ask fifth question, they wanted to hear the accuser's
testimony again. Prosecutor say the famed comedian drugged and then had on consensual sex with a female friend at his Pennsylvania home in 2004.
Cosby denies the allegations, jurors have been deliberating for three days now.
U.S. interest rates have gone up, on Wednesday the Federal Reserve raised the short-term rate by a quarter of one percent to 1.25 percent. The rate
increase will affect credit cards and auto loans. Mortgages are not expected to be impacted immediately.
The rate increase from the Fed indicates the U.S. economy is in better shape.
WARD: Residents had warned for years of a major fire. The building even recently underwent a massive $11 million refurbishment. And local
authorities said this actually included money to improve fire safety and ventilation works. The building is just minutes some of the most upscale
areas of London including Notting Hill. A residents group warned just last year quote, only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and
incompetence of our landlord.
The sun has now set in London, the city's fire brigade says that the incident is finally under control. Earlier the deputy assistant
commissioner told CNN of the scale of the blaze calling it unprecedented.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE BROWN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: I've seen in 25 years, I've never seen a fire with that intensity spread that quickly
throughout a building of this size. It is unprecedented as our commissioner said this morning. It has been extremely challenging for us
thus far. And our condolences certainly go out to anybody that has been affected by this incident yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: At the height of the incident around 200 firefighters were battling the inferno, rescuing 65 people from the burning building. Erin McLaughlin
brings us up to date on how you or unfolded.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A massive fire in West London had caught hold in a 24-story tower block that house hundreds of people.
UNIDENTIFIED FIRE VICTIM: I hear shouting, it is getting bigger, it is getting bigger. What is going on here? I could smell the smoke even
stronger. So, I go to the front door, neighbors were running out, people were screaming there is a fire, get out of the block, get out of the block.
Half of the block was ablaze by the time we got down. And it was just spreading like wildfire.
UNIDENTIFIED FIRE VICTIM: As soon as I ran out I saw already the fire holding one side, it is I we did not know what was going on, because
nothing came in. We didn't know, no alarm, no water, nothing -- you know, it was like very shocking.
MCLAUGHLIN: 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters battled through the night to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters say they have never
experienced anything like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FIRE FIGHTER: I have never seen a fire of this nature before in my 29-year history. This is of a completely unprecedented nature and it
will require some further investigation quite clearly.
SADIQ KAHN, MAYOR OF LONDON: It is extremely distressing and devastating, can I begin by saying, my thoughts and prayers as I am sure the thoughts
and prayers of the entire country are with the family and friends of those in the building and affected by these tragic and horrific fire.
MCLAUGHLIN: Witnesses described the chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS TO FIRE: It is just horrific, it was so awful to see and I am watching people at the windows waving and shouting for help, and
screaming, and then just seeing their flats engulfed with smoke, not knowing whether they were going to be saved or not, they are able to get
[16:40:00] It was just too horrible to see, sad, felt completely helpless because you just could not do anything.
MCLAUGHLIN: The politicians expressed their sorrow, families were evacuated to local community centers. Scores of people are being treated
in hospitals across London. Many of them still in critical condition. You fire is now under control, but the fear is that the death toll will
continue to rise. Erin McLaughlin, CNN London.
WARD: Law enforcement officials are trying to piece together what motivated a gunman to open fire on Republican lawmakers. The social media
pages are littered with criticism of Donald Trump and could provide some answers.
QUEST: Representative Steve Scalise remains in critical condition following surgery. He was injured after a gunman opened fire on Republican
lawmakers while they were at a baseball practice session this morning. It all to place early in the morning in Washington. President Trump delivered
a statement from the White House a few hours after when he confirmed that the attacker had been killed and then he called for national unity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We may have our differences but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's
capital is here because above all they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up
in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Sara Murray is at the White House. Sara, this was Donald Trump having to be father of the nation, wasn't it? And in some sense, this was
the first time he has been in this position where he has had to if you like define the mood of the country at a moment of grief.
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that is right and I think we saw President Trump acting like a president. He did not use this
moment to score political points, he did not use this moment to pat himself on the back. Instead he sent his prayers to the victims. He commended the
first responders and Capitol police for their response in the wake of this horrific shooting.
[16:45:00] He talked about his friend Congressman Steve Scalise. That was his wife that he spoke to earlier today in the aftermath of the shooting,
and perhaps most importantly he said this is not the time for political differences. It is not the time to highlight what divides us. It is a
time for Washington to come together in a moment of unity. I think that that is the overwhelming theme of what we have heard today, of course,
there have been some aberrations, but I think that President Trump certainly lived up to the moment and to what people expect to hear from
their President at a time of crisis like this.
QUEST: You put your finger on the point there, it is what the country expects, whether it is Theresa May speaking in London tonight about the
fire, or President Trump talking about the shooting. This is what people expect isn't it?
MURRAY: Absolutely, they do not want pandemonium, they do not want someone who adds to the grief, who adds to their concern. And we saw that you
present was very careful, he was very careful in the statement that he put out, he was careful in the tweets that he sent, and he was careful in his
on-camera appearance. We saw his daughter expressed her condolences, Melania Trump expressed her condolences. And same with Vice President Mike
Pence. We sought across the administration today so I do think he acted appropriately. It is hard to say that it was a good day for anyone but it
was an appropriate response for a president who moved outside the boundaries of normal expectations.
QUEST: I see that the Democrats have invited the Republican team to have dinner tonight at the Democratic Club, where one apparently said, they have
never been there in their lives, and we will probably need a food taster before we do it. But this is important because this is the body politic
coming together to show that they are greater than the differences of their parts.
MURRAY: It is important, and I think one of the other things that we saw in that press conference that you were referencing there, where Congressman
Barton who was at that field today joked he might need a food taster, they were saying look, the political attack ads that you see on television are
not necessarily indicative of what our real relationships are. The real relationships on Capitol Hill run deeper than that. Democrats were
concerned about Republicans, were praying for Republicans, when this happened today. And I think that is one of the messages that members of
Congress are trying to break through today. You may see vicious political ads, and maybe we need to rethink our rhetoric behind those. But here in
the capitol we still try to treat each other like people. We still care about one another.
QUEST: Sara, thank you, Sara Murray was at the White House. Proving the extent of the story, Bernie Sanders has condemned the shooter in
Wednesday's attack. A man who attacked his name James Hodgkinson, he was actually volunteer for the Senator's campaign for president last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am sickened by this despicable act, and let me be as clear as I can be, violence of any kind is
unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Jessica Schneider has more on what we now know about the man who committed the attack.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Investigators are piecing together a profile of 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, and they are turning to his social
media pages and criminal record. Hodgkinson used his Facebook page as a platform to voice his hate for conservatives and the president. And March
he linked out petition with the post Trump is a traitor, it is time to destroy Trump and company. On Facebook in 2015 Hodgkinson posted a cartoon
about Congressman Steve Scalise the lawmakers that he shot this morning, commenting here is the Republican that should lose his job. But they gave
him a raise.
Hodgkinson primarily used Facebook to express his sharp disdain for Hillary Clinton and to promote progressive politics. His profile picture showcased
Bernie Sanders. But the senator denounced Hodgkinson's actions amid word that he had volunteered for Sanders' presidential campaign though there are
no campaign records of this involvement according to Sanders' staff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I am sickened by this despicable act and let me be as clear as I can be violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: But Hodgkinson shifted his support to Jill Stein in September, and honed in on his hatred for Hillary Clinton. Even sharing anti-Clinton
stories from the Russian state media outlet RT.
Hodgkinson also reportedly belonged to a number of anti-Republican groups including one called Terminate the Republican Party, that is according to
the local paper, the Belleville News Democrat. Hodgkinson repeatedly wrote letters to the editor in 2010 through 2012 denouncing Republican policies.
[16:50:00] And expressing concern about the unemployment rate and taxes. Hodgkinson was arrested for battery in April 2006 for allegedly tacking his
girlfriend, the charges were dismissed a month later. Hodgkinson also had other minor run-ins with the law dating back to 1992 when he was arrested
for drunk driving.
Investigators found a vehicle on scene they believe belong to Hodgkinson, and use that to confirm his identity, ATF is now tracking two weapons, a
rifle and a handgun. Congressman Ron DeSantis said two gunmen approached the car he left practice in with Representative Jeff Duncan. DeSantis said
the man he later recognized as Hodgkinson asked if Democrats or Republicans were playing, but the Congressman did not think much of it initially.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DESANTIS, CONGRESSMAN: It had I think a little bias, not enough that I thought he was going to go commit acts of violence, but it was a little
abrasive. I kind of thought to myself, I was like yes, that's strange. But it was strange enough that as soon as the news hit, Jeff and I both had
the same thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: The tower block fire in London has killed at least a dozen people and left more than 100 families without homes. We will hear from one of
those volunteers responding to last night's tragedy after a short break.
WARD: Communities often rally in the face of disaster and London is no exception. Many donations have been made to victims of the tower fire with
people giving basic food and clothing to those whose lives have been ripped apart by this senseless tragedy. One crowdfunding account has already
raised more than 1/4 of $1 million, joining me now is Gurproot Singh. He is a volunteer with a local Sikh temple, he has been working since 5
o'clock this morning, that is more than 13 hours. Thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for the incredible work that you are doing, I
know it is not just the Sikh temple but also the Muslim community has been coming out, the church has been coming out. It is really inspiring to see.
But tell me what you saw at 5 o'clock this morning when you first answered the call?
[16:55:00] GURPROOT SINGH, VOLUNTEER SIKH TEMPLE: We didn't really know what we were going to find, we had volunteers coming out. Our first
instinct was to get water, so we had volunteers go to a nearby 24-hour stores to just buy up every water bottle that we could find and get into
the area where we found people coming from the block, suffering from smoke inhalation and from the heat. And we started distributing water.
As the day went on --
WARD: And what was the reaction you were hearing and seeing from the people who were pouring out?
SINGH: There was a lot of gratefulness for the community coming together, but also a lot of resentment as there was a feeling that this fire could
have been prevented. That there were hazards reported to the authorities earlier. I do not know the veracity of that but there was definitely a
feeling of anger and resentment amongst the community.
WARD: And what was the most immediate need that you saw that people had?
SINGH: On the flipside of the coin, there had been a tragedy but the flipside of the coin was that the community had come together. Everyone
was coming out and giving supplies and helping each other. It brought the whole community together. Londoners are a tightknit community, we always
have been. And this is another show that London can come together and resist any tragedy.
WARD: When you are talking to the victims who have just lost everything, what do you think is the most pressing thing they need is? What is the
most urgent necessity right now for people who want to help?
SINGH: I think what people really need is, there is plenty of resources here in terms of food and supplies, but certainty, that is something which
we need the authorities to provide, that people are going to have roofs over their head, they are going to be re-homed. They are going to have
their future secure. People have lost everything. Their houses have been burned. They have lost their possessions. And it is certainty which is
the main thing that needs to be provided and that is something that the authorities need to do. Something which goes beyond what aid workers can
WARD: And will your temple becoming out again in the coming days to try and help the victims?
SINGH: Oh yes, definitely, we will be providing support as long as it is needed.
WARD: And I guess my final question would be has it been in spite of the horror of what you have seen, do you also feel there is a sense of an
inspiring moment with the community coming together, all different walks of life making an effort to try to help their fellow man?
SINGH: Yes, definitely, pain and suffering, it knows no religion, it knows no color, it knows no creed, when man suffers pain, no matter who you are.
And this is shown with pain and suffering that everyone has come out together to alleviate that.
WARD: OK, thank you so much for your important work. And for everybody who was watching there are many ways the you too at home can help the
victims of the London fire, just go to our website CNN.com/impact and you can learn more about what you can do to help.
You have been watching our coverage of both this tragic fire in the shooting in the state of Virginia, that will be continuing in the hours
ahead. I am Clarissa Ward in London and this is CNN.