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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
FBI Releases Images of Two Suspects; Residents of West, Texas React to Devastating Explosion of Fertilizer Plant in Town
Aired April 18, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Around the world to CNN's breaking coverage of the Boston bombings. Tonight, the single most important development in the search for the killers so far. These are the two most wanted men in America. The FBI is releasing pictures and surveillance video of the suspects wanted in connection with the attack. These images show the two together wearing backpacks, walking through the marathon crowd, one in a white hat, the other a dark hat.
Take a very long, close look at the suspects. The FBI says somebody out there knows them and that the entire nation is counting on those with information to come forward.
Tonight, we have experts here to go through in detail these images, the tell-tale clues. We'll also have the very latest on our other big breaking story, the massive fertilizer plant explosion in Texas that was felt 50 miles away. Scores were injured and tonight the mayor of the city tells "USA Today" that he fears around 35 people, including 10 first responders, may be feared dead. We'll have the very latest on that later.
But we begin with the Boston bombing suspects and those new pictures. With me now from Boston is CNN's Jake Tapper. He's the anchor of "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" and chief Washington correspondent.
Jake, a big development today. Some real hard evidence in the form of these pictures and video. And I believe that we've got some quite late-breaking information ourselves at CNN. Tell me about that.
JAKE TAPPER, ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER": That's right. A source tells -- a law enforcement source tells Susan Candiotti that according to the video surveillance, the two suspects stayed at the scene of the crime. They stayed and watched the crowd, they made sure the bombs went off, and then they walked away casually. This is one of the things that may have been of interest to law enforcement when they figured out who in fact they were looking for, is the behavior of these individuals as they walked away from the crowd.
The law enforcement source also says that there is another video of one of the suspects leaving his bag at the scene, but that video has not been released, and this source says that's because they feared what might happen to that suspect if anybody were to come in contact with him. I don't personally understand that explanation entirely, but that's the reason that this law enforcement source said, that that video was not released. But in any case, the bigger point here is that these two individuals, their behavior was they stuck around, they watched, they wanted to make sure that the bombs went off and then they walked away casually from the scene according to this law enforcement source who told this to Susan Candiotti.
MORGAN: Let's take a quick look at what the FBI chief Richard DesLauriers said today about these two suspects.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them except law enforcement.
Let me reiterate that caution. Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jake, I mean, the FBI Web site almost blew up after this, in terms of people crashing it.
MORGAN: For information, and also, I noticed that social media was incredibly active as a result afterwards. It would seem that if these are homegrown suspects, American based, almost impossible to imagine that within the next 24 hours somebody somewhere won't know who they are.
TAPPER: Well, we don't know if they're foreign or domestic. We don't know much about them except that the FBI says that these individuals are the suspects and they're considered armed and extremely dangerous. They advise as -- was said in that clip that you just played, they advised individuals not to try to take matters into their own hands, not to approach these gentlemen but to call the authorities.
I'll tell you, we were watching -- my producers and I were watching this press conference at a local Boston restaurant, slash bar, and as the FBI came out and made this presentation, you could have heard a pin drop. Everybody, their attention focused at what was going on, and I have to say, I felt it and a lot of others I know in the restaurant felt it, it was almost a chilling effect, when you see these individuals.
Again, they are innocent until proven guilty, but the idea that the FBI suspects these individuals as having carried out these terrorist attacks, it was -- it was almost nerve-wracking to see them on the screen. But the big news, of course, that we're breaking this evening from the source to Susan Candiotti saying that the individuals in the videotape were shown casually staying at the site, watching the bombs go off, seeing that individuals are hurt and then walking away casually from the scene.
And there does appear, according to this law enforcement source, to be at least one other video that the FBI has not released yet.
MORGAN: Right. Jake Tapper, thank you very much indeed for now.
What are the images of the two men tell us and are they enough to find them? With me now exclusively is former Boston Police commissioner, Bill Bratton.
Commissioner, fascinating development in this. If you were wearing your commissioner hat, what would you read into what the FBI has done today?
BILL BRATTON, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, quite clearly that they have enough information to focus on these individuals as suspects, not just persons of interest, but suspects. That's a much higher level of confidence that these two individuals are, in fact, involved in the bombings.
The idea of putting this information out to the public at this stage is to effectively do what law enforcement does, get information from the public. Most of these cases are solved because of public information. That's not necessarily just great detective work. Great detective work is taking information and then effectively making intelligence out of it.
MORGAN: We had a very similar incident back in Britain after the 7/7 bombings on the underground system and the bus system there. There was a second attempt two weeks later that was foiled but the police released very similar pictures then of the people they were after and they caught them very quickly.
These are the images from that incident back in 2005. I'm sure you remember that. But it was a very effective way that the police use the CCTV footage to catch them.
BRATTON: Well, Britain also benefits from the fact that it has such an extensive network of cameras that they were literally able to track I think in both instances, both bombings that they had, the suspects from the time they entered public transportation all the way through until the time they got on to the affected trains and buses that they had blew up or attempted to blow up.
MORGAN: We've got Tom Foreman with us, who's got his magic wall of information there.
Tom, take us through this video very carefully so I can show the commissioner and get his reaction to some of the detail you picked up on.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. OK. Let's take a look at this a little bit if we can, Piers. And bear in mind, as Jake mentioned a minute ago, this may be video that we may see for years if it turns out to be the right people.
Here they come around the corner, subject number one, according to the FBI, and subject number two. This is about 50 feet or 60 feet of walking. They turned off Gloucester here down on Boylston Street. They're going in the direction of the race. Here comes suspect number one, suspect number two again. There's a little overlap in these images so it's not -- it seems like they're going further than they are but some of this is showing the same thing. There goes number one. And here comes number two.
I want you to notice here because this is worthwhile noting, that in fact right down here, the clock tells you you're within about 12 1/2 minutes of the first blast going off, and one of the things that we note about this, I know law enforcement is looking at, if you consider the sequence that they came this way, they're in the right sequence to be going where they're suspected of going.
For example, suspect number one, if that's him over here, and here's number two coming around the corner, the first bomb, which is now associated with this person by the FBI, is down the street here about three blocks. The second bomb associated with this fellow is down the street about one and a half blocks. So they're moving in the direction of the race and that's how far they have to go. They're in the right sequence, Piers, so that's one of the things that we know that law enforcement is looking at.
MORGAN: Right. And, Commissioner, it would seem on the face of it that the FBI know more than they're telling us. Would that be your deduction?
BRATTON: You can guarantee they know more, they have much more video than they're putting out to the public. I'm intimately familiar with this neighborhood, policed it as a lieutenant, worked this marathon --
MORGAN: And you grew up in Dorchester in Boston.
BRATTON: Been attending this marathon. The streets in that area are alphabetical. So if they came in onto Boylston from Gloucester, they moved toward Fairfield, the first blast was, if I understand it, between Fairfield and Exeter, second blast between Exeter and Dartmouth. So they're pacing themselves that if the first individual as you identified, he would have been the one closest to the finish line with his bomb.
The second individual would have been up by the Starbucks and Abe & Louie's restaurant. Every time I go to Boston I have dinner at Abe & Louie's restaurant. So very intimate with this area.
MORGAN: Is your gut feeling that these two suspects are still around or that they would have disappeared at fast as possible?
BRATTON: I won't even speculate on that because it would be useless speculation at this stage of the game.
BRATTON: Much to say that we don't know --
MORGAN: We do know they planned it, though, now. We know they operated as a team and that they planned this. So is it likely from your experience that people that go to that length of planning and preparing and executing, would they normally have some kind of escape route, do you think?
BRATTON: Well, it depends. It depends who they are, where they're from? Are they local? And we have these two suspects, that doesn't mean that's it, that they're the only two.
BRATTON: There might have been others. What the FBI has to work with now is that's an area that has a lot of cameras, so having identified these two as principal suspects, the ability now using big data capabilities to go back and look at every other camera that they're getting information from and zero in, they may be able to reconstruct where did they come from, did they come -- if they came out of Gloucester -- if they came out of Gloucester Street on to Boylston, chances are they did not come by public transportation, because there is no, if you will, subway station, subway stations all along Gloucester Street.
MORGAN: So how they got there is a crucial piece of information.
BRATTON: That's correct. And were they dropped off, that traffic in that area is very tough around the time of the marathon. Those are all considerations they'll take in terms of how they got in and then how they left.
MORGAN: Stay with me, Commissioner. I want to bring in now Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security and a former assistant director of the FBI, Chris Swecker.
Tom Ridge, we now know it's not a lone wolf. We know that much. And we have at least two faces to go on who the FBI believe are suspects. What is your take on where we are with this investigation?
TOM RIDGE, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, first of all, I think much credit should be given to the law enforcement generally. They've taken quite a bit of data and turned it into knowledge and into intelligence. I agree with Commissioner Bratton, I think it's clear that they have more in their back pocket than just these videos. And there may actually be some forensic evidence pointing to at least these two individuals as well.
I think at one point in time someone said part of the video they actually saw someone perhaps using a phone. That may be traceable. So I think my take on this is we shouldn't prematurely judge whether they're lone wolves acting as -- with a grievance against government where they're tied to a jihadist organization, whether they're wannabes, but frankly they moved very quickly in the past 72 hours, and I do encourage those who might identify them or run across them, do exactly as the FBI has indicated.
Call somebody, don't take the law into your own hands. They are armed, they're dangerous and you got to treat them that way.
MORGAN: And, Chris Swecker, you worked with the FBI at a high level. When they release pictures and video like this, is it safe to assume that all their decks are in a row in the sense of clearly once this goes public, these two characters will know that they're on to them, will by then they have cleared everything with the ports and the airports and so on so if they try and make a run for it to get out of the country, they're ready for them?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: Yes, Piers, this is the reason that we didn't hear this before now, that premature leak yesterday may have impacted the investigation as they say, with unintended consequences. You don't always reach this point of an investigation where you reach out directly to the public, but I can guarantee you that their investigative options have increased now and the bad guys' options have decreased.
MORGAN: You were the head of the FBI in the (INAUDIBLE) when Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph was arrested. So you've been in the position the FBI would very much like to be in very quickly, I would imagine, an arrest. Do you think, as my other guests have implied tonight, that they have a lot more information they're not releasing?
SWECKER: I think so. As Chief Bratton pointed out, that area of Boston is saturated with private security cameras, even without a big event like what we had with the Boston marathon. So there's -- there could very well be a composite of videos from many different retail -- retail stores, banks, restaurants, et cetera. So -- and plus, you've got the private video, the amateur video and photos. So there's a lot to work with there, just with that technology.
MORGAN: Commissioner Bratton, from these images, very hard to say what ethnicity these two are. Working on that, do you think the FBI again may have a better idea than we do just from what's released?
BRATTON: What you're seeing is the actual videos. Their ability to enhance them with the capabilities of computers today, they've got a much better imagery than what we're seeing there. Also, part of what they're looking to now do by pushing these images out, everybody who was in that area guaranteed is now checking their videos, checking their photos to see, did I actually catch these two guys on my video?
MORGAN: Well, apparently they're being absolutely inundated both to their websites, also e-mails, calls, everything, and social media is erupting with information.
BRATTON: This is what's going to be unique, if you will, unique in the sense the first time we've had an event of this magnitude where back in 9/11, not everybody was carrying a camera. Today, everybody is carrying a camera and the majority of them are carrying video cameras. So it's going to be a challenge to basically absorb it all but it's going to be basically the way police work from this point forward, the capability to effectively use big data analytic capabilities to basically help to resolve these cases.
MORGAN: Commissioner Bratton, Governor Ridge, and Chris Swecker, thank you all very much indeed.
Release of the suspects' images comes days after the attack killed three and wounded more than 180. Among the injured, a father-in-law of Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, who was at the finish line when the bombs went off. And Matt joins me now for an exclusive interview.
Matt, a desperately tragic day for everyone involved in this race. Tell me about what happened with you and your family.
MATT REIS, FATHER-IN-LAW INJURED IN BOSTON BLAST: We were out there to celebrate and to cheer on my wife, who was running, decided to run the marathon. She was actually running for charity. And we had timed it so that we were going to get down there pretty close to the time that she was going to finish. So we assumed that she was going to finish between 3:15 and 3:30, so you know, right around 2:40 I think we kind of came up to the scene and we were actually milling around the finish line area, and you know, as luck would have it, decided to kind of move right before the bomb went off.
MORGAN: Your father-in-law was badly hurt in this. What is his condition today?
REIS: He's still in critical condition. He is doing well. He's making small strides. But he's definitely in real bad shape. But we're trying to remain positive and trying to give him the strength that he needs to keep fighting.
MORGAN: It's believed that you may have saved his life personally by tying two tourniquets on his leg using a sweatshirt and his belt. That was very quick thinking on your part. I mean, do you think that if you hadn't been there to do what you did when you did it, that he may not be alive today?
REIS: I don't want to speculate, but you know, I knew something was wrong. I knew it was right back where I was standing and my family was back there. I knew I had to go back and check and see and try and help if I could. You know, I was fortunate to think on my feet and to do what I thought was necessary, and ultimately, it did help. You know, like I said, we're still in critical condition, so you know, I don't want to jump to conclusions. But I hope that he does make a full recovery and I hope that it has helped.
MORGAN: And what has been your reaction to the release of the pictures by the FBI of the two suspects?
REIS: You know, I don't -- I hope they get them, you know. It's been a terrible, terrible, terrible time. It's unfortunate that two people can try and ruin something as amazing as the Boston marathon. It's a testament of endurance of the human spirit and, you know, it was amazing to see how, you know, so few two people went out of their way to try and ruin everything and so many people had leapt into action and did whatever they could do to try and help, you know, during the whole situation.
I witnessed, you know, people helping strangers and doing what they could do to comfort the runners that were still unaware of what had happened and trying to keep them warm as they were cooling down from their run and strangers opening up their houses to everybody. And just a testament to this town and the type of people that are here, of their heart and how much they care about each other. MORGAN: We saw a very moving bit of video last night from the Boston Bruins, where the whole crowd took over the national anthem. I would imagine you may get the same when the New England Revolution play again. It's going to change a lot of things but it won't break the spirit of Boston.
REIS: Absolutely. I think that's something you can -- you can put your hat on as these people and this community, it's kind of galvanized us and brought us together.
I'd like to take this moment to thank all the medical staff and all the people over at Boston Medical that have helped our family and all the other victims. They've gone above and beyond and not only the doctors but the staff and everybody there at the hospital have been amazing and making us comfortable and helping us through this tough, tough time.
MORGAN: Well said, Matt. And thank you so much for taking the time to join me and all our very best wishes and our prayers go to you and your family and particularly your father-in-law who's obviously in critical condition and we just he pulls through OK, and that you can get to rebuilding our lives as a family. Thank you very much for joining me.
REIS: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, the Boston bombing suspects. I'll ask the experts what it takes to find the two most wanted men in America.
MORGAN: Back with our breaking news on the Boston bombings. Major development with the FBI releasing images of the two suspects who stayed to watch the carnage before casually walking away.
Joining me now is Jim Maxwell, a retired FBI special agent, also CNN contributor and former CIA operative, Bob Baer, former FBI assistant director Bill Gavin, and CNN national security analyst, Fran Townsend. And we'll bring back assistant director of the FBI, Chris Swecker.
Let me start with you, Jim Maxwell, since you're here. You're a retired special agent who specialized in the bomb area. This is the kind of bomb that we're talking about, a pressure cooker. A fairly crude device but in this case, extremely effectively executed. What do you make of the development today with the two suspects given that it clearly shows a team?
JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT BOMB TECH: Yes. This type of device basically, based on what I've seen so far, would be used to deliver low explosives, something that moves 3300 feet per second, less than that amount. And this device is popular for low explosives, the common vessel would be a pipe bomb.
Well, in this particular case, they decided to use this kind of vessel and what it does is it allows low explosives to build up pressure inside the vessel and then it will increase the potency of the explosion by containing that pressure.
MORGAN: Bob Baer, let me bring you in here. Every day we've talked we found a little bit more. Today, a big, big development. Do we know any more about who is more likely to have done this, homegrown or a foreign, perhaps al Qaeda related cell?
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, the jury is still out. I think the important advance we've made in this is two guys, at least two guys, which is it's not the lone wolf. I think also for me, what was really telling was one of the pictures that came out, one of the guys was on a cell phone. This is an enormous or potential lead because what the FBI can do is run an algorithm through all cell phones in that area and look for anomalies, and if, for instance -- if this cell phone was calling another prepaid call or someone else in the area, this could be a big break.
And I'm sure that they're frantically going through this as fast as they can, tracking this down. But I think we're still at the point where we don't know whether it's homegrown or it's from abroad. You can't tell from those pictures, you know. I think what we're really hoping at this point, the FBI is, that they are local and that someone will recognize them and it will lead to a quick arrest. If it's foreign and these people are experienced, I'd say they're out of the country.
MORGAN: Fran Townsend, are you hearing any intelligence about where people are beginning to think? In other words, does the FBI know a bit more and perhaps believe it may be homegrown for that reason, or are they thinking perhaps no, this is looking more and more like al Qaeda?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: No, you know, Piers, I think they've been very deliberate about letting -- leaving all those options open, right, because what's really important to them is to find the individuals and once you've got them, you'll know -- for certain what the motivation was. Right now, the real -- first and foremost for public safety reasons, right, you've got two guys who successfully detonated these two bombs, killed three, injured more than 180, you want to get them off the street for public safety reasons, because we know for sure they know how to -- construct and detonate these things successfully.
And of course you want to do it because you want to bring them to justice. But I think it's a real indication they haven't decided what the motivation is. Is it foreign tied or is it purely homegrown. What they're really focused on is not motive so much as apprehension.
MORGAN: Right. Bill Gavin, you've been in this position, assistant director of the FBI. Clearly a big advancement in the case but are they now relying on information from the public? Is that what today is all about, that they need to have people coming on saying I know who these are?
BILL GAVIN, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: You're absolutely right, Piers. You have so many pairs of eyes with the public and here's what's important about this. If you notice we've concentrated on the two individuals as they approached the finish line, they went up to the finish line, put down the bombs and these two horrible people disappeared. What we have to concentrate on right now is the pictures that might have been taken after the finish line.
These guys walked away. You could have a bunch of people down by the Public Gardens and the Boston Common who were just looking around and taking pictures. They need to recheck all their pictures to see if either of these two guys appear there. And you have to understand that there's a subway station right at Arlington Street, there's another subway station at Park Street, so this is a big break and if people can continue to look at these, I'm sure that the FBI has additional information and they can use that to kind of filter the information that comes in.
They're going to have thousands upon thousands of leads right now, and they'll use the additional information they know to maybe either screen the lead so it doesn't make sense and they don't have to follow them, or it makes real good sense and they can concentrate on following the productive leads.
MORGAN: Right. Let's take a short break, let's come back with more of this fascinating analysis and detail on the big breaking news of the revelation of two pictures -- two suspects, prime suspects, in the Boston bombings. We're back in a moment.
MORGAN: U.S. officials say it appears the bombs in Boston were remotely detonated. That new information comes as the whole world sees the pictures of the two suspects. Back with me now is Jim Maxwell, Bob Baer, Bill Gavin and Fran Townsend. Jim Maxwell, looking at this device here, how easy is it for a would-be terrorist to bring this kind of thing on a backpack into a situation like this?
MAXWELL: It would be extremely easy. Easy to conceal, as the video shows that they walked among the crowd and really didn't arouse too much suspicion. This type of device, based on what I've seen so far, some wiring, some batteries, the color of the smoke during the ignition, I would say that this device could easily be fired just by exposing the material to an electrical charge.
MORGAN: There's a little circuit breaker we saw. Is that how they would have done it?
MAXWELL: Well, no. It would be as simple as a bald wire or the filament from a light bulb.
MORGAN: The fact that they stayed around to see the explosions, what does that tell you about potentially the kind of construct of this device?
MAXWELL: Well, it could go in several different directions. As far as firing device, it would seem that it was electrically fired. As far as arming it or setting a timer, based on the one photograph I saw -- and I would be speculating at this point -- a phone could be used to detonate this. A phone could be used as a timing device. And that small piece of circuit board could also be part of an electronic timer. So there are several different directions it could go.
MORGAN: Fran Townsend, in terms of the international element to this, if it is a foreign group related to al Qaeda or whatever, and they have either absconded or are trying to abscond the country, what are the wheels that go into motion there as far as national security?
TOWNSEND: Sure. Piers, I think we don't have any indication yet that this is either foreign related or even inspired. But regardless of what inspired it, if they fled the country, you know, the CIA, remember the Ramsey Yousef case. This is the individual that waited outside the entrance to the CIA and shot and killed CIA officers. He was apprehended many years later overseas in Pakistan. So the FBI, working with the CIA and our foreign allies around the world, have a very strong network of cooperation.
There's been an outpouring of offers of support and help from our allies. And this is the sort of instance, anyone who found either of these two inside a foreign international border, I have to believe, based on our experience before, would help the united states get those people to justice and get them returned here.
MORGAN: Bob Baer, obviously these pictures, because of the Internet, will have flashed round the world. What kind of cooperation can the FBI expect from places like Pakistan?
BAER: They'll get cooperation. I mean, this wasn't state supported. I would be very surprised if it was, and I think anybody would like to help us on this. But Piers, I would like to go back and say I don't like the smell of this thing, these guys staying around. I've trained so many people in situations, not bombings, but like this, and something always goes wrong. You know, Jimmy knows how to make these things, but if you take amateurs and you have them put a bomb together, they make mistakes, especially when it involves the remote control --
MORGAN: What does that tell you?
BAER: It tells me that somebody had some practice here, and somebody cased the area. I wouldn't send somebody in a backpack into a police- controlled area not sending in somebody first to call out, say they're not checking backpacks. They probably stuck around to pick up the backpack if it didn't go off. These were cool customers. And you know, the question is, are there more of them out there, whether it's domestic or foreign. And you know, I just don't know. But the more I hear about this, the less I like it. These guys didn't just get lucky.
MORGAN: Right. Bill Gavin, finally with you, quickly, if I may, very interesting stuff that Bob was saying there. If you were running the FBI with this, how worried would you be that you may never track them down?
GAVIN: I would be worried about it, but it was a great move today by putting their faces on television, as was said earlier by Fran. First of all, you got to get these guys identified. If you can get them identified, then you can really pinpoint the kind of investigation that you need to have to figure out where they went. If you're identifying them, maybe they live in Michigan, maybe they live in the U.K. Who knows? But the bottom line is, if you've got them identified, then you know where to start to look at least for these two guys.
MORGAN: Thank you very much indeed to Bill Gavin, to Bob Baer, Jim Maxwell and Fran Townsend. Thank you.
Coming next, the catastrophe in Texas. Breaking news on the blast in that small city which some compared it to a nuclear explosion. That's coming up.
MORGAN: That's how it began, with a force that registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. The explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas leveled entire blocks of the small city and was felt some 50 miles away. The mayor said there may be as many as 35 people feared dead. Emergency crews are working round the clock looking for the missing.
Joining me is Lisa Middlebrook, who was trapped when her nursing home collapsed from the blast. Also here, her sister-in-law Sharon, who raced to rescue her. Welcome to you both. Lisa, first of all, how are you feeling?
LISA MIDDLEBROOK, NURSING HOME COLLAPSED IN FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION: Doing fine.
MORGAN: Obviously, a dreadful shock for you. What was the experience like for you? You're in a nursing home. It's heading towards the nighttime, and suddenly this enormous explosion goes off. What did you think was happening?
L. MIDDLEBROOK: Oh, I was watching TV. And all of a sudden the TV started to shake, the windows started to shake. I closed my eyes. I saw glass flying. Then the roof collapsed on me.
MORGAN: And Sharon, you raced -- as soon as you heard what had happened, you raced around there. What was the scene as you arrived, because the nursing home virtually collapsed, we understand.
SHARON MIDDLEBROOK, SAVED SISTER-IN-LAW FROM NURSING HOME: At first, I went to my sister's house just a few houses down from the rest home. She has young children and I wanted to make sure that there wasn't anybody at the house. There was nobody at the house, so I went back to the rest home. And they were pulling residents out in wheelchairs and they were all in front of the rest home when I got there. I couldn't find Lisa.
And I was going up and down the street looking for her, calling her. Somebody told me that she was OK. Once I knew she was OK, I helped wheel the residents across the street. They were trying to get them away from the home itself.
MORGAN: In terms of the injuries that Lisa suffered, it's all from the glass, is it?
S. MIDDLEBROOK: She -- yeah, she has some scratches on her eyes. She hurt her shoulder. They had to X-Ray that last night. The X-Rays were negative. Nothing's broken. She's just very sore.
MORGAN: How do you feel about what's happened to your community? It's an appalling thing that went last night. I was reporting live on it and it seemed to get worse by the minute. Devastating to so many families there.
S. MIDDLEBROOK: I can't imagine it's -- I mean, I was walking down the street and the houses were just destroyed. There was debris everywhere. The rest home itself, you could see, just looks like it collapsed inside itself. The windows were all broken. Vehicles were damaged. When I was on my way to the rest home, there was a family sitting at the curb, they had nowhere to go. So I took them a couple streets over to grandparents' house, and even that house had been damaged. Everybody in town's been touched one way or another.
MORGAN: Lisa, you must feel lucky to be alive. There are so many people we fear have tragically lost their lives, many, many, many more seriously injured. Do you feel fortunate that your injuries aren't as bad as so many others?
L. MIDDLEBROOK: I was just lucky.
L. MIDDLEBROOK: I just thank my guardian angels.
MORGAN: Yeah. I'm sure. That must be the feeling which you feel. Sharon, in terms of being able to go back into where the damage has been caused, can anyone do that yet? Are any of the families allowed to go anywhere near it?
S. MIDDLEBROOK: Last I heard, our uncle wasn't able to go to his house. His house was a few streets over. I don't believe there was any damage, but they wouldn't let him back in. But to be quite honest, I haven't been back in town, so I couldn't say for sure.
MORGAN: Well, I'm just so glad for you both and for you, Lisa, that you're OK. And I hope you recover soon from the injuries that you've suffered. I wish both of you all the very best with your community in rebuilding things after what has been a really horrific incident that's befallen you. I extend my deepest sympathy to you and your friends and family for what has happened.
L. MIDDLEBROOK: Thank you.
S. MIDDLEBROOK: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you for joining me.
Want to go out to CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is in Western Texas. Sanjay, you are one of the very few medicals to actually get behind there into where all the damage has been caused. We discussed last night, as it was going on, that you had the fire, the after effects of the explosion and, indeed, the noxious gases that were coming out from the ammonia in particular. What is the state of play there now with all those different things?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, talking about the blast first, Piers, and putting this in some context with respect to Boston, because you and I were talking about this last night. I was maybe about a quarter mile away from the site of the explosion. And we went in there and we saw some of these homes that are -- obviously as you got closer to the explosion itself, there was more destruction. But I can tell you, even up to a quarter mile away, first of all, the entire area was evacuated, the homes themselves, some of them were significantly destroyed.
You had doors blown in, windows blown in, ceilings sort of ripped away from the interior of the house. It's hard to believe that people may have actually been in the house at the time of the explosion. But it also had this quality, Piers, that was almost a little bit more like a natural disaster, in that there were some areas that seemed remarkably preserved and then almost an entire block that was significantly devastated. The rescue workers went through and they put Xs on some of these homes to basically show that a search and rescue had occurred there and that people had gotten out of that particular home.
But it was somewhat eerie. Again, there are probably neighborhoods closer to the explosion site or at least areas that were more significantly affected. But I think you see the school there, Piers -- that's a picture of the school that is an intermediate school. It's a brick structure. And you can see just how that outer layer sort of was torn away and the roof was torn away as well, a quarter mile away. So the impact, very significant.
With regard to the fires, you've been talking about that. It's decreased pretty significantly, obviously. What I think is interesting is this whole issue of the concern about the chemicals. You and I were talking about this last night. I investigated that. The EPA, at the state level, has been examining that very carefully. They set up these detectors in a quarter mile radius around the plant. And the good news there is that there haven't been significant concerns with regard to high levels of these chemicals. They were worried about it. They were wearing respirators and protective suits. That hasn't seemed to be a problem, Piers.
MORGAN: That's good news. Thank God this hadn't happened on like a Wednesday afternoon, with all the kids in the school, perhaps, and with all the workers at the plant. It was -- it would have been ten times worse. Sanjay, thank you very much.
GUPTA: Small blessings. Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming next, I will talk to the heroes of the Boston Marathon bombing, military men who got caught up in the war zone and went straight to work.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Countless stories of heroism in the moments that followed the deadly explosion that rocked the Boston Marathon. Among them, three National Guardsmen in uniform who took part in the marathon to raise money for charity, only to find themselves in a combat zone. Joining me now is Staff Sergeant Mark Welch, Sergeant Vernon Madore and First Lieutenant Stephen Fiola. Welcome to all three of you. Thank you for joining me.
MORGAN: You went down there. You were just running the marathon for fallen heroes. And then suddenly you're back into a war zone. What were your feelings? Let me start with you, if I may, First Sergeant Bernard Madore.
FIRST SERGEANT BERNARD MADORE, U.S. NATIONAL GUARD: I think we did a great thing. We went in there, did what we've been trained to do. There's a lot of first responders in there, the Boston fire, policemen, everybody, the first responders from there, the medical tent. It was really good. We just did what we had to do to take care of the people that are in need.
MORGAN: First Lieutenant Stephen Fiola, you were guests of the president this morning, I believe, at the interfaith service. I thought it was a remarkably powerful speech, very raw and passionate speech. What was it like to be there?
FIRST LIEUTENANT STEPHEN FIOLA, U.S. NATIONAL GUARD: It was -- first of all, it was an honor to be able to be there, given the light of the unfortunate situation. I think the speeches not only from the president, but from Mayor Menino, from Governor Deval Patrick and then absolutely from the president himself, absolutely powerful. I think the message was very, very clear. I think the response from the people not just in what we call Beantown -- not just here in Boston but throughout the country and the world -- I think it's been absolutely astonishing. True, true evidence and spirit of human culture and human nature and everything that we are about.
And the response to what -- to being there was just -- it was humbling. And it was nice to be able to witness that first hand.
MORGAN: It certainly was. Staff Sergeant Mark Welch, the FBI has released pictures of the suspect. When you saw that breaking this afternoon, what was your reaction?
STAFF SERGEANT MARK WELCH, U.S. NATIONAL GUARD: I'm just happy that they are finally getting somewhere. And I know that they've been saying that for a few days. I hope this gets results soon, so everybody gets a good healing in this country. And I think that's what we need.
MORGAN: Absolutely. Well, gentlemen, thank you for joining me. You performed acts of great heroism. And a lot of people said that you were directly responsible for helping to save lives. And for that, we thank you again for your service, not service you expected to do, I'm sure, when you set out to run that race, but you were called into action and you responded, as usual, with great sense of public duty. So thank you all very much indeed.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper will join you in a moment. But I want to leave you tonight with the emotional moment at Yesterday Bruin's game in Boston, which just about sums up the spirit of that great city. Watch this.
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Piers, thanks very much. Good evening, everyone.