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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Terror Hits London Transportation System
Aired July 7, 2005 - 09:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody, to our breaking news coverage as we get to the top of the hour. There are many developments to tell you about in the wake of these multiple explosions in London, three of them happening underground, one on a double-decker bus. We're getting an update on the number of injured. Apparently one U.S. law enforcement official who's in contact with British authorities says that number of dead, 43. The number of injured in the hundreds. That confirmed by a hospital that said that they had treated somewhere around 300 people, many of them treated then released, although they say there are a handful that had to be whisked immediately into surgery.
We're also told by reporters at the scene that there is a rescue operation still underway. Many of these locations are very difficult to get to in the underground. Some of the people are stuck in the tunnels. In addition, those who have perished, those who have died in the attacks, they are leaving them in the tunnels, in situ, we are told by authorities there, as they start their investigation. It is now a crime scene and they do not want to move the bodies.
There is a group that's taking responsibility, although some analysts are cautioning everyone to take these claims with a grain of salt. Our own Nic Robertson reported just a moment ago that this group, the Secret Group of al Qaeda Jihad in Europe, is claiming these attacks in revenge for military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. No confirmation, though, of that yet.
Tony Blair is going to come and meet face-to-face with his law enforcement teams, Scotland Yard and others, talk to investigators about the progress that they are making. He made his resolve very clear when he addressed the world just a few hours ago, and then later, as he was surrounded by the other leaders of the G-8, who are in Scotland for their meeting. He departs that meeting. He will then meet with his investigators, then return to that meeting. Those meetings with the G-8 go on without him, at least for the day.
And President Bush, he is still at G-8 Summit in Scotland. He addressed the world, as well, saying that he stands behind, as our nation does, behind Britain and giving condolences, as well, to the people of Britain and also, specifically, the families who have lost loved ones. Much happening and we're going to keep you up-to-date with the very latest out of London this morning. Let's get right to Richard Quest. He's in London close to one of the subway stations, I understand.
Is that right, Richard?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Soledad. Good morning to you from London.
I'm outside or near Aldgate and Aldgate East tube station. This was the scene of one of the first explosions that took place this morning. And you can see behind me, it's just pretty much behind that bus where the tube station actually is.
And what we have been hearing all morning, and you can probably hear even now, is absolutely dozens of emergency vehicles coming backwards and forwards. Interesting and different types. Some of them are disaster recovery vehicles. We've seen large numbers, for example, of ambulances, hospital/doctor vehicles. Even blood supply and medical supply vehicles. And what this is clearly telling us is that there are numbers of injured so large that the authorities are now moving around the various supplies between the hospitals to take care of those who have been injured and are undergoing treatment.
The casualty numbers, as you were just reporting, Soledad, rising only within the last hour. What you have to understand about where I am, Soledad, Aldgate, this is almost like the heart, if you like, of the financial district. This is the Wall Street. The edge of Wall Street in London. So these are the places where there would have been many hundreds and thousands of people congregating in the early hours of this morning when the explosion took place, making their way to the big investment banks and security houses.
At the moment, completely corded off. A deputy police commissioner, that's the number two in the force, told me a short while ago, obviously, now it's pretty much assumed it was terrorist activity. The forensic work underway to determine how and how big those explosions were, Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Richard, the other stations as well, the other tube stations, I mean all of these seem designed to really get Londoners at the heart of their commute, at areas that are -- as they are heading in to the office. Give me a sense of the other tube stations as well. I understand some of them are big tourist hot spots and others are just, you know, besides being packed with people, sort of have a real significance, too.
QUEST: Yes. You see, very similar to New York where, for example, Grand Central Station is not only a major subway stop, it is also a mainline train station. So here in London, some of the others, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, even Edgware, they are all mainline stations. People who live in the suburbs, who live in the outer regions of London and in what we call the home counties would take an overline train and then get the subway.
What today has done, besides the terrible toll that it has exacted in terms of dead and injured, is will have been to put the fear into the commuters. Like New York, and like all the other major cities, Chicago, where a mass transit system is an arterial network essential to the proper functioning of the city, so in London this has been the case. And that's what today will have done.
But you know, Soledad, the authorities have always said, when it came to the London subway system, it was not a case of if, it was a case of when. And that is why over the last, since 9/11, they have repeatedly prepared, exercised, done demonstrations, for exactly this sort of day. Now if it seems chaotic at times, we're at the tentacles, if you like, Soledad. I'm at the very end of a tentacle of the operation. This is where it happened.
But in the control rooms where Don Rivers (ph) was at Scotland Yard, that is where the preparations for exactly this sort of event will have been made and will now be executed. And I don't think we can overemphasize the importants of this confidence question. A lot people have died, even more have been injured. The question of what has happened to the confidence of the traveling public and the tourists, essential to this economy, that, of course, it will be very much for the future.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Richard, and, of course, as one of our analysts pointed out, that that is exactly what is at the heart of terror, to strike terror into the hearts of civilians, even more than necessarily killing scores and scores of people.
Richard, I'm going to ask you to stick around for a moment because we want to show some videotape that is new into CNN. Apparently it is off of a camera phone in one of the three tube station that was attacked. Let's take a look, if we can. Looks like we're having a little but of technical difficulties trying to get it rolling. And it's unclear to me exactly what tube station that's from. But let's see if we can fix those technical problems and get back to that in just a moment.
We're looking now, though, at -- okay. Well, here we go. We got these pictures. This is inside, you can see, one of the tube cars. Obviously packed with people. The guess would be that this videotape or -- from the camera phone, rather, transferred to videotape, shortly after the explosion because it looks as if there is some kind of damage there that we are seeing sort of in the center of the screen.
Yes, absolutely. You can see significant damage to that car. We apologize, of course, for the quality of these picture but it's pretty remarkable, I think, that somebody has used their capabilities with their camera phone.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, yes. You see the glass?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Yes. You can see the glass.
MILES O'BRIEN: (INAUDIBLE).
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: You can also see part of that as well pieces of metal basically peeled against the wall.
MILES O'BRIEN: Yes.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: It's a little bit difficult to see but our first glimpse inside the car. At first everyone's standing, so, obviously, this is in the moments after there's been some kind of an explosion. MILES O'BRIEN: Yes, it's interesting because clearly what you've got is sine emergency lighting there. You've got blown out windows. And what you see, at least for this one little glimpse, this is our first glimpse really into what is a scene that could only be described at hell. You don't see -- I don't see panic there. I see an orderly evacuation.
Is that your take on it?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: I don't know. I think if we heard the audio we might actually be hearing something.
MILES O'BRIEN: That's true.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Thinking something else. Because some of the eyewitnesses, while they said, and sometimes it was completely calm, at other time people were absolutely panicked. You can see there the windows blown out.
MILES O'BRIEN: Right.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And also that other shot where we saw some of the metal kind of twisted back. Difficult to watch because, of course, the quality is so poor. One wouldn't expect anything much better off of a camera phone. And yet it is our first glimpse inside one of these tube carriages where many people had to make their way out, essentially. One eyewitness said they were trapped like sardines with no emergency officials coming to their aid and no real word. They basically had to burst through either side of the car and then had to make the decision about whether to get out or not because, of course, they were unclear if the third rail was electrified.
MILES O'BRIEN: Exactly.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And did they survive some kind of explosion only to risk something more out on the rails.
MILES O'BRIEN: Well, you can imagine how you have to go through your decisions at that point. Having to, you know, use one of those hammers to get through the window and then not know if that is relative safety on top of everything else -- everything else that is going on around you.
I suspect we're going to see more pictures like that because, in this day and age, there are so many people are walking around with the capability of gathering pictures, still pictures, and video. So as the day goes on, we'll share that with you. And it gives you a sense of what was going on under ground.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: It certainly was the case, I think, after 9/11 the number of people who had their camcorders and the ability to almost immediately share those pictures of where they were. And some of them, of course, inside the building or incredibly close. And then, of course, broadcasting them out to the world. I think you're right, I think we're going to see many more shots like that and get a better sense of exactly what happened inside that double-decker bus and inside those train carriages.
MILES O'BRIEN: And the interesting thing is, if you think about it, the sad irony of all that is that that really does play into the hands of the terrorists because it does scare people, quite frankly, seeing these pictures. And that is what this is all about.
Anyway, what's been going on in the United States today? Just about every transit system in the United States has been assessing its security or perhaps lack thereof. The metro system in Washington, if you've been riding on that this morning, you've probably seen bomb- sniffing dogs, officers with automatic weapons. The governor of Massachusetts has raised security on the MBTA, the T in Boston. Mitt Romney, even without specific intelligence, is raising this as a precaution.
This is being repeated all throughout the country. And, of course, in Washington, there's particular concern anyway because of many other potential so-called hard targets in addition to the so- called soft targets. CNN John King has been watching that for us. He joins us from Washington.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Miles, those steps you just noted being taken around the country. Part of the culture, if you will, that we have in this country because of the tragic events of nearly four years ago on 9/11 as we watched the investigation and the recovery in London.
There are a number of steps being taken by the federal government here in Washington. First and foremost, the Bush administration wants to emphasize this point -- Richard Quest was just talking about confidence. The administration says flatly that there is no intelligence at all suggesting any attacks are planned here in the United States.
They say the extra precaution, you will see a million people a day ride the subway here in Washington. There are bomb-sniffing dogs, as you noted. There are some machine gun armed police officers out on the streets. The administration saying that is all extra vigilance, extra precautions being taken just in case.
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff just a short time ago saying that the department has asked all law enforcement agencies to have increased vigilance and additional security measures. But again, emphasizing no specific credible intelligence at all, Miles.
Now what will happen in a case like this, because of the experience of 9/11, is those security alerts will go out. People will increase vigilance around the country. And they will look proactively, if you will, to protect people during the coming rush hours in cities in the United States just in case. Another thing we're told they are doing is going back. Now that you have had this attack in London, go back over the intelligence brought in over the last several days and several weeks and see if there's anything in that material that perhaps has more relevance now that you see what has happened in London.
As you noted at the top of the hour, U.S. officials saying in their communications with British officials, they are being told the death toll is now above 40. That several hundred people have been injured. They say they will do anything they can do to help with the investigation there. They, obviously, believe this is a terrorist attack linked to the start of that G8 Summit in London.
For the most part, Miles, putting people on a bit of higher alert, trying to gather all the intelligence they can, coordinate between and among all the federal, state and local agencies that would have a piece in this. President Bush has been in touch with his national security team from the G8 Summit in Scotland. Again, they're emphasizing they see no cause of concern here in the United States, but certainly when you have an event like this, what they believe to be a carefully coordinated terrorist attack, very similar, they say, to that attack on the Madrid train not all that long ago. They certainly want to be extra caution here in the states, Miles, and that's what they say they're doing.
MILES O'BRIEN: Well, you know, and that Madrid attack, you would think, would have changed a lot of the thinking about how to handle security in and around these transit systems.
First of all, let's look at some pictures that we've got this morning from one of the metro stations there. John, you know, to respond like this afterwards is all well and good and we certainly wouldn't want to doubt the prudence of reacting in this way. But the question remains, we've been talking to our analysts all morning about this is, by their very nature, these transit systems are sitting ducks.
KING: Yes, they are. Sitting ducks is an appropriate term for it. Remember back in the days just after 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney called this the new normal and he said the country was going to have to decide how much of its freedom it was willing to give up to deal with the terrorist threat. And he has said this would be an evolving process, and it certainly has been over the past nearly four years now.
And one of the questions everyone has raised, is it worth the psychological? Will Americans pay the psychological price of seeing security every time they get on the subway, every time they go to a baseball game or a basketball game? How much can governments afford without hurting the economy to put into the billions already spent to increase security at airports, to increase security at ports.
Many mayors would tell you around the country, port security still a major problem in this country. But those are the softer. They're not the softest targets, but softer targets. Not the Pentagon, not the Capitol Building, not the White House, but subway stations, major sporting events. Those are the softer targets that officials say al Qaeda and affiliated and like-minded terrorist groups are likely to attack now because so much has been done around the government institutions and installations that you look for a place where you can get a large group of people and where you can cause panic.
MILES O'BRIEN: Now, while you've been speaking, John, the right part of your screen at home, that is the scene of what is to be a police news conference from Scotland Yard. It was supposed to happen about 15 minutes ago. The minute it starts, we're going to go to it.
John, in spite of all of this, in spite of what you just said, the national threat level hasn't been changed. Why not?
KING: It has not been changed. And as you well know, Miles, that threat level has been criticized from time to time that Washington would go say currently at yellow to a higher level, which is orange. The highest level is red. That level has been criticized by some who say, what does it mean? What specific steps? Because every time they raise it or lower it, they say Americans should still be vigilant.
They're constantly assessing that threat level. And we've been told a number of our reporters and producers, including myself, have been told by officials that because there is no credible, specific intelligence at all suggesting a threat of attacks here in the United States, that at the moment there is no consideration to raise that. No plan to raise that threat level.
But it is assessed every day, regardless of what we saw happening in London. Today it would have been assessed every day, anyway, several times throughout the day. And officials say as they pore back through old intelligence to double check it, to see if there's anything relevant and as they take in new intelligence, if need be, they would raise it. But they say now based on several hours of reporting today as we watched the events in London unfold, they see absolutely no reason to do that on a national level.
Instead, they're taking what has become a much more common approach, incremental increases in security and vigilance are any places, like New York City and Washington, D.C., and in the area, specifically mass transit, subway stations, the Amtrak has also increased security, places that they believe could possibly be a target.
MILES O'BRIEN: Seems as if the national threat level has become a bit outvoted, John King. We can talk about that another time.
John King, our national correspondent in Washington. Thank you very much.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: While we await that press conference out of London by the metropolitan police, let's bring you a couple of details that we are getting here.
We're told by the Associated Press reporting that some of the buses -- and eyewitness accounts verify this as well. Some of the bus, the double-decker buses, had to be used as ambulances. They were, in fact, packed with injured people to transport them in bulk to the hospitals because it was impossible to get some of the ambulances through.
In addition to that, the scene of several blasts, we are told, special emergency workers in orange's biochemical suits have been searching for evidence of any biochemical, biological or nuclear agents. And the bus that was torn apart, this from some eyewitnesses, the mangled upper deck, and you've seen that in some of the pictures, was open and debris from that bus littered all around the streets there. In addition to that, they described that one side of the building that was near to the bus -- and you're looking at pictures right no now -- that scarred by shrapnel, blackened by the explosion when that bus blew up. That's some of the details that we're hearing.
We just heard from John King, who's watching reaction in Washington, D.C., as far as national safety and national security. Let's get to Kelly Wallace now. She's got an eye on what's happening around the rest of country as well.
Kelly, good morning again.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again, Soledad.
Just as you and Miles have been talking, just about every mass transportation system in the United States taking a look at its security. Big picture here, we can tell you, Amtrak, which pretty much operates in nearly every state in the United States, deciding to increase its security level. In its statement, Amtrak officials say they are doing this as a precaution. That there is no direct or specific threat against Amtrak. But part of this increased security will include more resources on trains, as well as canine teams going across the trains and also alerting passengers and employees to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and any suspicious packages.
Of course, here in New York City, especially in light of September 11th, a lot of concern about security. Something new we can tell you. A spokesman with the New York Police Department telling CNN that police have increased security at "United Kingdom-related locations," not elaborating on what those locations are.
Also, no surprise, extra police presence. Extra officers in the subway system and also along bus systems around the city. We do know that there was a search drill conducted by the New York City Police Department earlier this morning. New York City officials saying this was not in response to any threat but, of course, trying to take every precaution possible.
As well, New Jersey Transit, which hundreds and thousands of people use to get in and out of Manhattan to commute to their jobs. We are told New Jersey Transit reminding customers as well to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, any suspicious packages. Officials there telling us that New Jersey transit has been on heightened alert, on this state of alert, since September 11th and the Madrid bombings.
Also around the country, in Chicago we are told that there is an increased security with increased police patrols in the mass transit system and also in the central business district. This coming from an official with the mayor's office. You can see that increased police presence throughout the city.
And then on the West Coast, we understand that there was to be and there might be going on as we speak, in fact, a news conference in Los Angeles at around 10:00 a.m. Eastern. The mayor, the police chief, the county sheriff, to talk about how they have activated what they call a special command center and talking about extra security measure they are taking.
Our colleagues here throughout CNN, Soledad, talking to cities all across the country. Atlanta, increased security as well on that transit system in that city. Dallas, officials saying that they are evaluating security measure but no plans to increase security at this point.
Soledad, I can tell you, people here definitely a little jittery of course, especially as we had the morning commute here just hours after what happened in London. And, again, police presence throughout this city and throughout most cities, especially in the mass transit system.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Kelly, we should note that we're just a couple of minutes away from hearing from the metropolitan police in London. They're going to give us an update on -- we're expecting some of the numbers of dead and wounded in the wake of the simultaneous coordinated, it appears, attacks in the London underground, and also on the bus system as well.
Kelly, if you're still around, you know, while you were talking we were taking a picture of Penn Station. And actually, as much as Amtrak has said that it's made some changes, the truth is, from the exterior right there, it looks pretty normal. It doesn't look like you've seen significant change in what's happening in Amtrak. Also while you were talking about other cities around the country, we'd see some police officers kind of wandering through or, in the case of the Chicago police, a police car driving by. But you don't get the sense of overwhelming presence.
Is that kind of part of it? Not to -- not to overwhelm with, at this point, considering there's no specific attacks threatened against the United States?
WALLACE: It's an excellent point you raise. That does appear to be the sense of this. But again, every location that we talked to says no specific or credible threat against Amtrak, against any city in the United States. And so, therefore, there is what we talk about here, always this balancing act, really, for officials throughout the United States and elsewhere in terms of responding to an attack elsewhere. They have no intelligence that such an attack is imminent or planned here in the United States. They want to respond but they also want people to continue to go about their normal business.
And Soledad, really, especially in New York and Washington, both cities really on a heightened state of alert, you can say, since September 11th. So there's a lot of security that is going on that has been going on and in place since those attacks. Things that you and I might not see going on every day.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Excellent point, I think.
You know, Kelly, let me just interrupt you there as we show people pictures -- that were a moment ago on your right, now on my right, of the scene where we're expecting to hear from metropolitan police in London about any advances that they have made in the investigation to this point. We're seeing a little bit of activity and that gives us a sense that things are imminent. We're going to be hearing from the spokespeople in just a few moments.
Kelly, why don't you and I continue our discussions. You know I have to say -- with the understanding that I might break away any moment, as soon as we hear from someone coming out there on the podium. You know, it was a little bit unnerving to hear the president of the United States and the brief remarks that he made from Scotland where he is attending the G8 Summit, essentially advising commuters, Americans, today, well be extra vigilant as you head into the office. I have to say, as someone who was already at work, it was quite unnerving.
WALLACE: It certainly is. And, obviously, to passengers and people who are using mass transit systems in New York, in Washington and throughout the country. This is how most of us get to our jobs each and every day. There's no way around it. You need to use the subway, you need to use the bus. So there is a sense.
I think John King referred to this, what Vice President Cheney and others have referred to as the new normal. And some of this is what people in the United States and elsewhere around the world know can happen. And there has been discussion about how vulnerable our mass transit systems could be. You have large pockets of people on subways and on buses and, obviously, a great deal of concern about what could happen if explosions were under way.
And so there will be a lot of discussions, no doubt, as there always are after cases like this, Soledad, about what steps are being taken in New York, in Dallas, in Atlanta, in Los Angeles. Not necessarily in response, but to make sure that something like this doesn't happen. Again, though, you raise the question, I think you even talked about it earlier with an analyst, how can you ultimately protect everyone in terms of getting on buses or getting on subways?
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: And we'll see if we hear an answer as we are seeing representatives from the metropolitan police department in London take the stage essentially there as they are about to address reporters and others who are assembled to hear the very latest in this investigation.
Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will open proceedings. He will give you a brief update of the position. We will then had over to representatives from the other emergency services, London Underground and Transport for London. At the end of this briefing, there will be an opportunity to take one-to-one questions and there are opportunities afterwards for one-to-one interviews with the speakers.
BRIAN PADDICK, LONDON METRO POLICE: Good afternoon.
The first thing to say is that the Police Casualty Bureau is now open for friends and relatives who are concerned about those who may have been killed or injured in the incidents. The telephone number is 0-870-1566-344.
In terms of what exactly happened this morning, at 8:51 this morning, there was an incident around Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Moorgate East underground stations. Confirmed explosion 100 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street Station.
It was believed that the train involved is either a central or a circle line train. And there are seven confirmed fatalities in that incident.
At 8:56 this morning, at the King's Cross-Russell Square incident, again, 21 confirmed fatalities in that particular incident.
At 9:17, there was an explosion on a train coming into Edgware Road underground station, which blew a hole through a wall onto another train in an adjoining platform. In fact, it's believed that three trains were involved in that particular incident. And so far, there are five fatalities in that particular incident.
And then at 9:47, there was an explosion on a bus at Upper Woburn Square junction with Tavistock Place. There are fatalities in that incident, but at the moment we cannot confirm the numbers.
So four devices, we believe, are involved in today's incidents. The police service received no warning about these attacks, and the police service has received no claims of responsibility from any group in connection with these attacks.
This clearly was a callous attack on purely innocent members of the public, deliberately designed to kill and injure innocent members of the public.
That's all I have to say at this stage, but I can answer questions afterward.
DCC ANDY TROTTER, LONDON TRANSPORT POLICE: Obviously, London's transport is facing some very challenging times at the moment. The underground won't be in action until tomorrow. The bus services, we hope, will come back on in Central London later on this afternoon.
And the overground stations, King's Cross will be closed, Liverpool Street is currently closed, and Victoria is closed due to a bomb threat. So we hope that will be opened quite soon.
The situation is fluid. There are a number of bomb scares, as one could understand at a time like this. But we're doing our very best with Network Rail and the other operators to open up the systems as best we can. And we'd like Londoners to start thinking about their journey home and to make sure they check whether the services are available and then to start to make their way home.
Obviously, we don't want a great rush out of Central London, but it's going to be a very difficult evening to get people away. But I know that everyone is working together to try and get people home as best we can.
So our encouragement is to check on those systems and then for people to start to make their way home as reasonably soon as possible, without the great rush all going off at the same time from offices. We'd ask people to think carefully about their journey back tonight.
RUSSELL SMITH, LONDON AMBULANCE SERVICE: The London Ambulance Service has been working alongside other emergency services throughout today to respond to the explosions across London. We have been assisting with the rescue effort and assessing and treating at all scenes to ensure that the patients received the medical attention they require.
We have treated 45 patients with serious or critical injuries, including burns, amputations, chest and blast injuries, and fractured limbs.
We have also treated approximately 300 patients with minor injuries, including lacerations, smoke inhalation, shock, cuts and bruises.
Patients with life-threatening or serious injuries were stabilized at the scene before being taken to hospital by ambulance staff from London Ambulance Service and other neighboring ambulance services.
Patients with minor injuries have been treated at the scene and, where needed, taken to hospital by non-emergency medical staff, voluntary aid ambulances and, indeed, public buses.
Hospitals who have received casualties include the Royal London Hospital in White Chapel, University College Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington and the Royal Free Hospital.
Over 100 ambulance vehicles and more than 250 ambulance staff have attended the incident scenes supported by staff in our control room.
Over the course of this incident, many hundreds of calls were received by our control room staff. We are asking members of the public not to dial 999 unless they require treatment for life- threatening injuries at this time.
And we also ask that people do not go to their A&E (ph) departments at hospitals in Central London unless absolutely necessary so that those departments can continue to focus their efforts on treating casualties from this morning's incidents. Thank you.
KEN KNIGHT, LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: The London Fire Brigade was able to receive the call at our regional control center and respond quickly and effectively to the tragic events that unfolded in London today. These were, of course, the kind of events that London firefighters have been planning, training and equipping for, and today there came the reality.
Obviously, firefighters and the other emergency service workers witnessed some very harrowing scenes today. And they performed magnificently in the face of that challenge.
Certainly, we would like to offer our condolences to all of those that have injured or lost loved ones. We still have firefighters at the scenes and are still assisting in the work they have to do. And we will be there as long as it takes and needs to be there.
We attended with some 40 fire engines and specialist equipment designed just for this purpose, together with over 200 firefighters today in London.
TIM O'TOOLE, LONDON UNDERGROUND: These were my passengers. Let me tell you, all of us send our condolences out to their families and to all of us who were involved in this.
As the situation unfolded, we felt we had to shut down the system and remove people from the trains, because we didn't know how many more incidents there might be.
The staff performed magnificently. Of course, with my staff, I had to deal with this in the 10, 15, 20 minutes before others could be there. And reports I've gotten have indicated the intense pride I should feel about them. They've done a fantastic job. They did a very difficult job, and they did it well.
We are now in the process of getting clearance from the police to getting out on the property to inspect all of the trains. Once the trains are inspected, we will try to get drivers to them and move them to depots so that they can be secured.
Our ambition is to have a service for the morning. If we can, we will run some service late tonight on unaffected lines, such as the Jubilee, the Northern and the Victoria. But it is unclear. It will all depend on whether we have the crews.
Even when we start up tomorrow, though, keep in mind where these incidents occurred, which will, no doubt, be held as crime scenes for some time.
We will not be able to run any service on the top side of the Circle. So that means it's likely the H&C (ph) service will be out. Certainly, there will be no Circle Line service. We won't be able to run the Met past Baker Street -- assuming we can get into Baker Street -- and it will be, at best, a shuttle service on either end of the Piccadilly Line.
But we hope to run a full service everywhere else, and we are going to get the system up and running as quick as possible.
PETER HENDY, TRANSPORT FOR LONDON: On behalf of the mayor, the commissioner of Transport for London, and the whole of us at Transport for London, we send our condolences to everybody affected. And I send my thanks to the bus staff who've responded very well today.
When the first incident occurred on the underground this morning, we opened the bus service to all tube passengers but then, of course, a little later we were as advised by the police to withdraw the bus service out of Zone One substantially, which was done.
The bus service is just starting to return to Zone One. It will take some time to get back to normal. And as it gets back to normal, additional police officers, wardens and bus staff will be out to help at major points, like Opposite (ph) Street and so forth for the evening rush hour.
Clearly, the bus service can't serve areas where the emergency services cordons are still there, and particularly in the King's Cross, the Aldgate areas and around Russell Square. We will have to either institute diversions or curtailments. And we'll attempt to get details of those out as soon as we can.
The bus service can cope with an awful lot of extra people, but it will be slow to get home. As Andy Trotter said, we would like people to stagger their homeward journeys because we clearly can't cope with everybody who would normally start off between 5 and 6 this evening.
We will try to as hard as we can. We'd ask travelers in London to bear with us and to bear with our staff, who, I'm sure, I know will rise to the occasion.
Buses in London are currently being searched regularly and certainly at each end of the journey, and that will continue until further notice.
I should also say that the Dawton's (ph) light railway is resuming; that on the roads we have had messages up since early this morning asking people not to come to Central London. They will be in place for the rest of the day. And the congestion chart was suspended this morning for the day.
PADDICK: Clearly, we are very concerned about those who've been killed and injured, and we are very concerned about the impact this is having on families and friends.
I have to say that since this conference started, unfortunately, the Police Casualty Bureau has developed a technical fault. And we would ask people to be patient with us while we try to rectify that fault.
We will take questions now from the floor.
PADDICK: At the moment, we don't know whether or not these were suicide bombers or whether this was simply packages left on the bus and in the underground stations. It's too early to say.
PADDICK: Again, there is no indication that these were anything other than conventional explosive. But other than that, we don't have any information about the size or type of device that was used.
PADDICK: Clearly, we've had considerable success in the past using closed-circuit television footage in order to trace the movements of the people involved. That will be one of our first priorities as well as securing whatever forensic evidence we can secure from the various scenes.
QUESTION: Can you tell us whether you have made any arrests throughout the course of this morning in connection with this at all?
PADDICK: I don't have any information at this stage of any arrests having been made in connection with these incidents.
QUESTION: Question for the London Underground.
Are there any people still trapped underground?
O'TOOLE: No. The system is clear.
QUESTION: And when were they last -- how long did it take to evacuate people?
O'TOOLE: Well, the entire system -- almost all of the system was cleared within the first hour or two. But the people on the Piccadilly Line train, it took the longest to get them clear. There was difficulty getting access to all of them.
I don't have an exact time when we got the last person off.
QUESTION: Do we have any estimate how many people died on the bus?
PADDICK: We don't have any information at the moment as to -- we know that there were some fatalities, but we don't have any numbers at the moment.
QUESTION: Can you tell us at this stage how many members of the anti-terrorist squad are involved in the investigation and what they're doing, why they're not here?
PADDICK: Members of the anti-terrorist branch are fully involved investigating these incidents. That's why they're not here.
I'm the spokesperson for them, as well as the rest of the Metropolitan Police Service. Their time is much more valuably spent investigating these incidents. We're not prepared to discuss how many detectives are involved in the investigation at this stage.
QUESTION: Should the security level have been higher today given that it was the launch of G-8?
PADDICK: The security level in London has been high over recent months. We have had all the security services actively engaged in anti-terrorism activity during this period.
We have given advice and we've received cooperation from the transport services around raising people's awareness of the possibility of suspect devices. And so we are content that the security level was appropriate, even notwithstanding the fact that G-8 is happening in Scotland.
QUESTION: The security level was actually lowered within the last month to its lowest level since 2001. Can you comment on that? PADDICK: The security level was lowered slightly from the very highest, other than having specific information about a specific target. It is at its second highest level, and we felt that was appropriate in all the circumstances, bearing in mind all the intelligence that we were in possession of.
We're not going to start getting into risk threats or anything like that today. This is about actually telling you about the response to the operations. We appreciate if you could confine those questions to the response, the operation from the emergency services rather than the investigation stage.
QUESTION: How many police officers have been involved on the ground in this morning's response? And are you recalling any officers from the G-8 Summit to help deal with this?
PADDICK: We've got about 1,500 Metropolitan Police officers deployed to Scotland. We have 31,000 police officers in London. We have more than enough police officers to cope with this sort of emergency.
At this stage, we have used officers who were on duty during the course of these incidents and we have not called officers in who were off duty before, because clearly this is going to take some time in order to restore London to normality, and clearly we have to bear in mind that we're going to have to bear in mind resilience in terms of keeping the policing going during this period.
PADDICK: In terms of exact numbers, we haven't had a head count.
TROTTER: The British Transport Police, obviously, attended these calls when they first came out -- and it has put a great strain upon us, without a doubt. We have a number of officers in Scotland as well for G-8. We won't be bringing any back from there, but we will be bringing as many officers as we can on duty in order to cope with the pressures we're going to face for the rest of today and into tomorrow.
QUESTION: Andy Trotter and Brian Paddick, can I ask: What is your reaction, basically, to the fact that the nightmare scenario has happened? And what does that say about the counterterrorism measures that have up to now been deployed?
PADDICK: Well, both the current commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, and the previous commissioner have said that London has always been a terrorist target. And we are clearly shocked by what has happened today, but we're not surprised at what's happened.
We have worked, over recent months and years, with British Transport Police, with the City of London Police, with London Ambulance Service and with the London Fire Brigade -- and all the other emergency services -- rehearsing and planning for exactly this sort of scenario.
PADDICK: And so right from the word "go" we were able to implement this well-rehearsed, well-planned incident response. And as far as the Metropolitan Police Service is concerned, that plan has worked exactly as it should have done.
TROTTER: Very sadly, all the practice that we put in, all the London forces together, plus the other emergency services, the plans that we worked on so hard were required today.
And as far as that response is concerned, the response worked extremely well. But it's a very sad day that we've had to actually bring this into play.
QUESTION: Are you still looking for devices? Can you confirm this?
PADDICK: Clearly, we want to make sure that the transport system is safe, but otherwise we don't have any intelligence that there is a threat from other devices.
So in the absence of any specific intelligence, we are nonetheless being very vigilant, as our colleagues from said from Transport for London, to make sure buses and underground trains are searched before they're brought back into service.
QUESTION: I just wonder, were there any power surges then, or what was that about this morning, the reports that there were power surges?
PADDICK: I think Tim O'Toole can answer that question.
O'TOOLE: There were not power surges.
But what happens is, when you have an incident of this magnitude, its first manifestation is in the control rooms of the power, because the first thing that happens is the traction current is shut off.
When it was the read that there was power withdrawn at different places on the network, the assumption was by some people that there must have been a surge to cause so many breakers to trip out.
O'TOOLE: Further information quickly came in that there was a derailed train at Edgware Road and then speculation occurred that somehow that must have come in contact with the major power cable and did that have an impact. And then the rumors just kept running.
But there was never any power surge. And, indeed, the traction and current network to the underground is completely intact right now and we could run a full service were it not for these criminal scenes.
QUESTION: Tim, 27 minutes between the first blast on the tube and the last blast. I know it was chaotic, but did you issue any warnings to your drivers?
O'TOOLE: Yes, they happened almost -- our read was that it all happened within three minutes of each other. We didn't really have time. That was the report we had in the network communications center where we were.
QUESTION: Two-part question: In broad terms...
O'TOOLE: Could I just further...
O'TOOLE: ... and the once we had perception of what was going on, we immediately went to a code amber, which was to move all trains into platforms where we could so that while we got a read on what was happening, we had a way to get people out with the least difficulty, so we wouldn't have to walk people through tunnels.
QUESTION: Mr. Paddick -- probably most appropriately -- two parts: Can you say is Scotland Yard treating this as a suspected Islamic extremist terrorist attack?
And second part is can we have a little bit more detail about the location of the Piccadilly line train, which direction it was going in?
QUESTION: Where was it between the stations?
And, also, where was the Edgware train coming from? A little bit more detail on that.
PADDICK: The first thing I would say is that, as far as I'm concerned, "Islamic" and "terrorism" are two words that do not go together. There may be people who present themselves as Muslims who carry out these acts but it is totally against what I understand to be the Islamic faith and what Muslims generally stand for. And anybody who professes to be a terrorist and somebody who believes in Islam I think is sadly mistaken. However, we are treating this as a terrorist incident. We are keeping an open mind as to who the perpetrators might be. We have- received no claim in terms of who is responsible.
And so at this stage, we wouldn't speculate.
QUESTION: Can you answer the questions about where the trains were?
O'TOOLE: The Piccadilly Line train was between King's Cross and Russell Square. The Edgware Road train was a Circle Line train -- in fact, both incidents on the subsurface railway were Circle Line train -- and it was between Edgware road and Paddington.
QUESTION: Is there any indication that any of the casualties were caused by other than the explosions themselves; for instance, in the evacuation or subsequently?
(UNKNOWN): It's early days to be able to answer that. We don't have any evidence to suggest that at this stage, no.
QUESTION: Can you tell me -- the rumors that a police sniper shot dead a suicide bomber at Canary Wharf (ph). Do you know anything about that?
PADDICK: We have no reports of any police sniper shooting at anybody today.
QUESTION: Also, a group called Al Qaida Europe have been claiming responsibility. Are you taking that seriously -- on their Web site?
PADDICK: We understand that a group that are claiming to be linked to Al Qaida have claimed responsibility on the Internet. We will be looking at that as well as any other leads. But at the moment we don't know whether that's a genuine claim or not.
QUESTION: Can I ask Ken Knight if we could get some more detail on the rescue operation, please?
KNIGHT: Yes, certainly. The fire crews were, of course, deployed in the normal rescue mode; weren't sure, of course, at first, whether there was also fire involved, so were equipped to deal with fire in the Underground.
The planning that Tim O'Toole talked about of moving all other parts of the underground to their home stations helped immensely with evacuation.
In the event, there was no fire -- no firefighting. But we deployed crews in breathing apparatus to undertake rescues, because it was not only extremely difficult conditions, but a great deal of dust and dirt being thrown up, of course, by this terrorist activity. And they were deployed with the other emergency services.
The crews there worked exactly according to plan. I'm very proud of what they were able to do today. And I think we still have something like 20 fire appliances at the scenes. But I'm content now that we're now equipped and prepared and continue to be equipped and prepared from this experience. We'll maintain at a high level of vigilance in the event of such atrocity.
QUESTION: Could you clear up this question of a warning? A.P. are quoting an official from the Israeli embassy in London saying that they received a warning from Scotland Yard a couple of minutes before an explosion and, as a result, some of their government officials didn't go to a conference in London.
Was there no warning or no intelligence at all?
PADDICK: The information I have at the moment is that there were no warnings given to the police at all.
QUESTION: On any intelligence that something might happen today? PADDICK: The information I have at the moment is that there was no intelligence in our possession that these attacks were going to take place today. And we were given no warning by any organization that this was going to happen.
QUESTION: How quickly, then, were embassies of foreign governments alerted to the situation?
PADDICK: I'm not in possession of that information.
QUESTION: A question to Mr. O'Toole. Can you states how many trains were affected by this incident this morning, estimate how many passengers had to be decanted from the system?
O'TOOLE: Well, I don't have an exact count. But, during the rush hour, we would be running usually around 500 trains. We move 3 million people a day. So it would be a very large number at that time of the morning.
The Circle Line trains probably each had around 700 people on them. The Piccadilly Line train probably had something like 900 at that time in the morning. But I don't have an exact count, for obvious reasons.
QUESTION: This is for Tim O'Toole as well. There's two parts, actually.
How many people are actually trapped underground? Have you got a figure?
O'TOOLE: As I said, I was quite proud of the staff in that people were not trapped. It was about a controlled move of getting people off.
There was a difficulty getting people off of the Piccadilly Line train. It was the only deep tube level train affected. The other two were subsurface trains, of course. And I don't have an exact number for how long people were stuck there.
QUESTION: A question for Mr. Smith: Are there any children amongst the fatalities?
SMITH: I don't have the information at hand, I'm afraid.
QUESTION: Do you have an age range for the fatalities?
SMITH: We don't.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) explosions.
And the second question, the emergency services and your staff, you say, were very proud of the way they behaved. What about the public? How did they cope in this nightmare scenario?
O'TOOLE: My report from my staff was that they did not confront any panic; that they were enormously impressed that people just evacuated the system and followed direction.
You can imagine in the early moments of this some of the horrific scenes, things that people never expect to see in their lives, and yet people just got on with it.
TROTTER: I can confirm that, because the Russell Square incident was very near our own British Transport Police headquarters and we heard the bomb go off on the bus in Tavistock Square. And our officers were quickly out to deal with members of the public, many of whom were injured or coming in to our front counter for treatment. And I was impressed with just how calm people were in very, very traumatic circumstances.
PADDICK: I have no information that there were controlled explosions. There were a number of calls to suspect devices, but as far as I'm aware no controlled explosions.
QUESTION: Can you give us more of a chronology of when the code amber was activated and when the trains were actually stopped, when people started to leave and what you were actually telling them over the loudspeakers?
A friend told me first they were told that it was a power surge and then they were told it was an emergency situation and get out immediately.
O'TOOLE: I don't have the time chronology with me, and I know that the police have one.
But I can tell you, because I was there, the way the events unfolded is, as I said, we first had a detection that there was a certain sections of the traction current went off, which usually indicates breakers firing and that's when people thought there was a surge. Then we got the report of the derailment at Edgware Road. At that point, of course, we have a lot of people in tunnels removing tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people and the last thing you do is freeze. You let the system keep moving until you get some further confirmation.
Then as more events came in and we got the word from the Aldgate area, at that point we put out a code amber right away, moving people to the platforms but not immediately instructing them to go out onto the street because we still didn't know what we were dealing with. But within minutes after that, we did decide to evacuate the network.
As I said, I'll be happy to put out the timeline. I'm sure it will be the subject of many investigations, but my perception of this was unfolding all within the first hour.
QUESTION: I'm not quite sure who this question should be directed to, but can I ask what precautions you're going to be taking to make sure that bombs don't get onto the tubes and buses tomorrow?
Our offices will be working with Transport for London with the London underground, searching, checking railway stations, platforms, carriages, trains to make sure that the system is as safe as it possibly can be.
Our officers, Metropolitan Police, city and British Transport Police will be at all the main line termini providing reassurance to the public, but the public need to remain vigilant.
This is an extremely challenging time for London. We don't know if this is over yet.
TROTTER: We've got to remain vigilant. The public have got to help the police and report anything they see as suspicious to make sure we can deal with it straight away.
But we've got every resource out there at the moment and we're doing our very best to keep London safe.
O'TOOLE: Can I say one of the reasons why it will take so long to bring our service back is that we are going to look at every inch of every train and we're going to be inspecting all of our stations. And I can assure you there's no metro system in the entire world that knows more about this subject than the London underground and we will do everything to keep our passengers safe.
QUESTION: Is there any indication that the bomb that went off on the bus was actually destined for another train station?
PADDICK: We've got no information at all at this stage. Clearly, a possibility could be that it was destined for underground but, on the other hand, it was 30 minutes after the other explosions. We don't know.
QUESTION: Do you actually know any more information about the actual devices themselves?
PADDICK: We don't have any information other than they were conventional explosive. We don't know about the size of them. We don't know whether they were packages left or whether they were suicide bombers.
QUESTION: Are you going to suggest that commuters just take the day off tomorrow and let things calm down?
TROTTER: No. I don't think we are suggesting that. What we're saying is it's going to be extremely tough getting home tonight.
But I think all the operators are going to be working very hard to get the system back on tomorrow. There will be challenges. Without a doubt, there will be problems. The sites of the explosions -- obviously, services won't be running, perhaps for some time.
But, nevertheless, you know, life must also carry on. As I said earlier, if we work together and if we're all vigilant, I think we can make London as safe as we possibly can so people can carry on about their daily business.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. We've been listening to a news conference. Lots of information to go through here as officials there in London from the various organizations involved in this -- police, fire, ambulance service, the underground, the transportation authority -- confirming first of all, 33 fatalities in all. Seven at one station, near Moorgate station. 21 at Liverpool Street. Five dead at Edgware Road. And then an unconfirmed number of fatalities on that bus explosion. Don't know what the number is there.
Forty-five critically or seriously injured people. Treated with the kinds of injuries you would suspect: burns, amputations, chest and blast injuries and fractured limbs. Total injured treated by more than 100 ambulances with a staff of 250, about 345 people. They're efforting right now, trying to get the system back up and running. The underground will not be back at least until tomorrow. Buses will begin later in the day.
As far as the investigation goes, officials there saying there were no advance warning of these attacks and they have no verifiable claim. We've been reporting to you one Islamic -- Islamist Web site, laying claim for this, but no way to validate that. And authorities there not indicating whether that is genuine or not, not casting any judgment on that particular claim. No information on arrests. Knocked down a few rumors for us about power surges. No power surges. And the fact it was possible that one suspect, perhaps a suicide bomber, was shot by a sniper.
One thing that was interesting. They talked about how they had rehearsed for a scenario like this many, many times, and they were able to execute that scenario really from the get-go, and that probably, safe to say, helped a lot in this situation. As another official put it, though, very sad that we had to implement that plan -- Soledad? S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I think the word he used was actually shocked, but not surprised, which I think kind of takes us back to Bill Daly. And thank you again for sticking around with us all morning. Shocked but not surprised means we've all been waiting for something like this to happen. And I get the sense they were not talking about the IRA?
DALY: No. I believe they've been thinking for a while, much like us here in the United States, that these soft targets -- these places where people go to and from work, where they go to go visiting, if people are sightseeing, might travel around -- are the soft places that could be targets. And so they have -- they've been planning for a long time in this response. Certainly, this is the back end of what goes into preparing for security. They've had certain bubbles of security, similar to what we've had here, kind of levels and codes. They've had a very proactive plan over there, because they've had problems with the IRA.
S. O'BRIEN: So does that mean, then, the plan failed? Or does that mean that the plan succeeded because the plan was actually what you would do, should there be an attack?
DALY: Well, I think their plan succeeded in the response plan. I think the preventative plan -- it can never be 100 percent. And I think we've certainly learned a lot from these incidents and can take it back here to the U.S. and look at how it might impact our transit systems. But, you know, Soledad, what's also interesting is that before we get into the final stages of an event like this, where security, whether it be armed people on a platform or people being vigilant, are involved, really, the intelligence.
This really points out to the early stages, to really get to these sites, to get to these cells, to these people or operatives early on to prevent it before it becomes manifest. Really, our last chance to catch them is when they're going down into a subway tunnel or to a bus station or on a bus, to commit one of these acts.
S. O'BRIEN: What did you make of this timeline, as we heard from -- I think it was Brian Paddock (ph), one of the police commissioners -- said 8:51, the first explosion. And it happened about 100 yards into the tunnel. Then 8:56, Kings Cross had that explosion, 21 people confirmed dead there. 9:17, another train in transit, again, explodes in the tunnel. Five fatalities there. And then about 30 minutes after that, you got the explosion on the bus.
So if you do the math, it's 26 minutes from when the first train had an explosion, the last train explosion took place, which is a fair amount of time and also kind of jives with what the eyewitnesses were saying about being trapped for 20 or 30 minutes inside these trains, unable to get anybody to help them. Does that number, 26 minutes, seem like a lot of time to you or a little time before -- we heard a moment ago, from the man in charge of the mass transit, or the trains, that he never got word after the first explosion? It seemed just like minutes, he said. And there was no word in that 20, what was actually 26 minutes, to stop the other trains?
DALY: Exactly. 26 minutes in the world of transportation and moving hundreds of thousands of people around and, as he mentioned, maybe 500 trains at any one time who are in this underground system, is not a lot of time. And it's not a lot of time to be able to understand what's going on, understand what might be, as they thought may be early on a power surge, to a real incident, and be able to send out communications.
So, to me, it indicates that this plan was very closely coordinated, was elaborate in the sense that -- pre-planning went into it. And perhaps planning to the point at which they were able to detonate, of course, the device 100 yards into tunnel, which is even more scarier to everyone than if it was above ground.
S. O'BRIEN: Some interesting details, I thought, actually, in that timeline. The 9:17 explosion, the train that was coming into the Edgware station. They said it blew into an adjacent train and, in all, it was three trains that were involved.
DALY: Three trains.
S. O'BRIEN: So what does that tell you about the kind of device that was used? And the power of that device?
DALY: Well, certainly, in an enclosed area such as a tunnel, where you -- the blast is contained, it can push out in directions that it wouldn't have if it was up on a street, where there would be no resistance. But because it's contained, it has much more impact. Also the fact -- whether it's by design or it's just by their coincidence that three trains happened to be running parallel to each other and were involved, is yet to be determined. But certainly for the terrorists, that planning certainly resulted in a number of injuries, maybe more than would have resulted if it was just in one train.
S. O'BRIEN: Well, unfortunately, sort of good news for the terrorist perspective and terrible news for those who were injured. As we mentioned, 33 people now confirmed dead and that's not even counting the number killed in that double-decker bus. They're not even hazarding at this point a guess at the number killed. Anything surprise you in that press conference?
DALY: Well, just one point you mentioned about the double-decker bus, is that, if you look at the timeline, that was significantly after the explosions underground. Now whether the thought there is that people would have gone to the -- up -- surface transportation or whether it was some other type of delays is yet to be determined. But it's interesting that that was a good period of time, I think close to maybe even 45 minutes...
S. O'BRIEN: Another 30 minutes...
DALY: ... or so before that occurred.
S. O'BRIEN: Well, all right. Bill Daly, again, we're going to ask you -- we thank you, but we're going to ask you to continue to stick around with us this morning as we get more information coming to us out of London this morning. M. O'BRIEN: We're keeping our focus on London, of course. Our reporters are there and we're keeping you abreast of all the developments as they come in. CNN International, Christiane Amanpour, Nic Robertson, helping us out with that.
But in the meantime, a domestic story we can't overlook. We just got word from our weather department that Hurricane Dennis is now strengthening, and continues to make its way toward Florida. Hurricane watch for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay. Tropical storm watch for the entire southern peninsula of Florida exists right now. So we're watching that, we'll keep posted on that, as well, in addition to all of our...
S. O'BRIEN: Of course, that's the area that has been hit before, and not much time has gone past since they've been recovering from their tornado -- their hurricane damage.
M. O'BRIEN: Many -- really, many people do not even have their roofs on yet from the previous year, and they're having to contend with this.
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