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Victims of Explosion Still Trapped Inside Phillips Petroleum PlantAired March 27, 2000 - 3:23 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Bobbie. We've been following a story from Pasadena, Texas of a Phillips Petroleum refinery explosion and fire, a massive explosion. It's about an hour since that happened. The fire now apparently is pretty much under control. There are some problems remaining, not the least of which are victims reportedly still trapped inside, some trouble apparently getting them out.
We have on the line with us Sergeant Baird, who is a public information officer with the Pasadena PD.
You're in Pasadena, correct?
SERGEANT J.M. BAIRD, PASADENA, TEXAS POLICE: Yes, sir, we are.
WATERS: And this is near Highway 225 near Pasadena where this explosion has taken place?
BAIRD: That's correct, sir. The Phillips Petroleum plant is on the north side of Pasadena. And what we have is a north wind at this point and smoke is blowing the -- or the wind is blowing the smoke north over the city of Pasadena.
We're asking all of our residents to shelter in place. That is as a precautionary measure. Stay indoors. Keep your windows and doors shut, turn off your air conditioning.
Our main concern obviously at this point is making sure that we treat all of the injured, make sure we have account of everybody, and be able to take care and make sure nobody else gets injured, any additional injuries due to this accident.
WATERS: Sergeant, we heard the mayor say just a few minutes ago on your local television station there that he was unaware of what these fumes are, whether or not they were toxic. Do you have any more information about that?
BAIRD: This is coming from what's called a k-resin unit there in the plant. And we don't know exactly. It's -- we're just taking a precautionary measure. This is early on, this thing. It exploded about 1:20 Central Standard Time. So we are trying to do what we can to do everything in regards to making sure everybody is safe. WATERS: We understand that some of the school districts nearby in Deer Park have been locked down and students there are staying inside with their school-bus rides being delayed, and air conditioners as far as 8 to 10 miles away are being shut down. Is that correct?
BAIRD: That could very well be. I don't have that exact information right this minute in my office. But we are asking everybody close to this plant to stay indoors, shelter in place. Keep your doors and windows shut again as a precautionary measure.
WATERS: And standing by are Life Flight helicopters for the apparent victims of this explosion and fire?
BAIRD: Yes, we do have one person, I believe, has been loaded with -- onto a Life Flight helicopter. We are now just waiting and trying to treat several other injured people. The exact extent of these injuries at this point is just not clear, unknown. But we are doing everything we can to make sure that we can get everybody treated.
WATERS: And flight restrictions are -- apparently, are flight restrictions now in place around this refinery?
BAIRD: You're asking me a question that I just don't know.
WATERS: All right.
BAIRD: That's a possibility. I'm watching one of our local news stations as we speak, and I know that their helicopter is still in the air.
WATERS: Well, they have backed off a bit, though. We have noticed that.
So Sergeant Baird with Pasadena PD, thanks so much for helping us. As the sergeant mentioned, this is still early. They're still fighting parts of the fire. This is the same plant that was the victim of a massive explosion in 1989, which caused considerable soul- searching in the Pasadena area on how to prevent this from happening again. It has happened again. Just how extensive the damage to the facility and to those who may have been trapped inside is yet to be determined.
We will continue to follow the story, and we'll have more as soon as we know more. We'll take a break. TALKBACK LIVE will continue when we come back.
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