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Special Event

Los Alamos Police Chief: 220 Structures Destroyed, 405 Families Affected

Aired May 15, 2000 - 12:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to go out to New Mexico now. The Los Alamos police chief, by the name of Melton, is holding a press conference, taking questions about the recent wildfires.

Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

RICHARD MELTON, LOS ALAMOS POLICE CHIEF: Right now, in terms of structures, we have 220 structures and we have 405 families that have been affected by their homes either being totally destroyed or damaged, and most of those are totally destroyed. There's actually very few that have received damage at this point.

I'd like to address the utilities issues. We have got a lot of calls coming in on utilities. We have asked our utility director to give an update on what the status is with all of the power, the gas, the electric, and what's going on in that arena. Thank you.

CHRIS ORTEGA, LOS ALAMOS UTILITIES MANAGER: Hi, I'm Chris Ortega, I'm the utilities manager here. I will give you a little update on the electric status.

We have restored power to Veronca Mesa (ph) area, to North Mesa area, to the Ponderosa states area, the area south of Diamond called Lower Northern Community, or something along those lines. The power is back on in there. The Denver Steel area and Orange Street area we do not have power, and we will not have power restored in North Community, nor the western area for a few days until we get the clearance from the EPA and other officials, the hazmat people. We can restore it probably by the end of the week, I would hope.

We've cleaned out all the damaged equipment in those areas. So there's no danger from stuff falling down on people, but we've got crews out there right now, the National Guard is a big help, helping us remove that equipment.

MESERVE: An update from Los Alamos, New Mexico, 220 structures now said to be destroyed, 405 families have been affected. Power has been restored to some of the areas where it had been turned off because of the fires. In other areas, however, they say it won't go back on until the end of the week.

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