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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Colorado Wildfire Out of Control; Deck Collapses at Miami Sports Bar; National Anthem Controversy; Chelsea Opens Up

Aired June 14, 2013 - 08:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had some extinguishers I used to put that out and I used buckets of rain water that had collected and --

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You got fairly desperate, that's what it sounds like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was going to do whatever I had to do.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): He lost his shed but kept his house. The heat on the street was extreme.

(on camera): You can see this modern art created by the fire, these are newspaper boxes, maybe it's not surprising they melted, they're plastic, but this is a mailbox and that's metal.

(voice-over): Many of the houses here sat deep in the beauty and seclusion of the Black Forest, but in the fire it was those very trees that often doomed the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the reality is once it's up in the trees and moving there's nothing the firefighters can do. I mean, basically they're now looking out for themselves.

SAVIDGE: Over 700 firefighters continue to work to contain the blaze. They include crews from towns just down the road as well as far away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They describe you as having your back against the wall.

NIGEL THOMPSON, BLACK FOREST RESIDENT: I don't know if I'd go as far as to say that honestly. I don't think it was that bad. We were just doing our job.

SAVIDGE: That humility is tempered with a simple understanding that the Black Forest fire is far from finished.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Black Forest, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: For 38,000 Colorado Springs residents who had been forced to leave their homes, there's a feeling of complete helplessness this morning. Most of them are waiting and wondering if anything will be left when they're allowed to return. Finally allowed to return. Victor Blackwell live from Colorado Springs.

Not knowing, Victor, has to be agonizing.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, you're right.

The sheriff's office has a team assessing the homes in these communities and there's a list of those still standing and those damaged and those completely lost and the number of homes lost is now up to 379 and every time that list is released, a few times a day, there are thousands of families here that search to find out if their home is still standing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Dana Hood is looking for something she does not want to find.

DANA HOOD, EVACUATED FAMILY: Hands are shaking.

BLACKWELL: Her address on the list of homes destroyed by the black forest fire in Colorado Springs.

ALEX HOOD, EVACUATED FAMILY: We've been kind of not knowing for a few days. Yesterday we got an aerial view of the house and it showed it wasn't burned.

BLACKWELL: Tuesday, Alex and Dana received a reverse 911 call from the sheriff's office alerting them of a mandatory evacuation. They packed up a few important things and left.

ALEX HOOD: We loaded that stuff up and got the dogs and their food and got out of town.

BLACKWELL (on camera): You and your wife and how many kids?

ALEX WOOD: Five.

BLACKWELL: Five kids.

(voice-over): The seven of them. Their St. Bernard Jack and their 14-year-old black lab Boris are living in a camper in the Walmart parking lot just outside of town.

RADIO: Kind of double back --

BLACKWELL: They listen for updates on their neighborhoods with their new neighbors.

(on camera): The Hood family is in this parking lot with more than a dozen other families in campers and there are parking lots like this scattered across Colorado Springs. But there is some help. A company offering free Wi-Fi and use of cell phones, people are dropping off pet food, offering hot showers, whatever support they can.

Dana does not find their address, but she finds their street. DANA HOOD: The only houses listed on Freman (ph) are on the total loss.

ALEX HOOD: How many?

DANA HOOD: One, two, three, four, five, six.

ALEX HOOD: We are optimistic. Now, I have to start thinking a different direction.

BLACKWELL: Alex won't tell the kids until he knows something for sure. But it's tough to hide his feelings.

ALEX HOOD: No. Are you OK?

BLACKWELL (on camera): Your wife looks at the list and it's hard to keep her from crying and I'm sure at some point, it's hard to keep yourself from crying.

ALEX HOOD: Yes.

BLACKWELL: How do you do it?

ALEX HOOD: I'm dad. That's what dads do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: There are tens of thousands of people who are in homes with their friends and family or in shelters in the community and I can just anecdotally tell you that many of the hotels are booked. I met the woman downstairs, in the lobby of the hotel we're staying in and she asked the hotel if she could stay in the conference room and that's where her family is. So, many families waiting to get back into their homes -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much for that, Victor. And, of course, the scorching temperatures and the winds continuing to fuel these fires.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And then out East, you got all of this rain and you have this other storm system battling out here.

Let's go to Indra Petersons, right now, for the forecast for today.

Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, good morning.

Definitely dealing still with these wildfires. But we also that storm that moved off shore we're just mentioning. You can see what we dealt with for the last 48 hours. I mean, you really have this huge storm system stretching all the way from Maine down to the Gulf States, that is now pushed offshore. It's good news.

Look at all that lightning out there. Not only that, many wind reports. I mean, we were talking about downed trees and power lines. A lot of people without power this morning, they're working on that, but look at that, 645 wind reports. So, it was primarily this huge, long-lived wind storm.

Now, I do want to give you an update on the fire. Of course, we're talking about some moisture. This is a little hint of good news. No red flag warnings in the area today, and that is because some moisture is fueling and this looks better than it is.

This is the water vapor satellite and a lot of the moisture higher up is not reaching the ground level. Overnight hours they get recovery. So, they get 40 percent, 50 percent in the overnight hours. As we go through the afternoon, unfortunately, with this heat and the sunlight, they drop down again to the teens. No help there, 17 percent. Now in the area itself, not seeing strong winds, unfortunately, anyone around a wildfire these systems create their own. Even though Mother Nature itself is not creating those winds for them today. So, that's not going to give them relief.

There are however, going to be some thunderstorms in the area today and tomorrow and the next couple of days and that's kind of a mixed news. Adds a little humidity and it's not reaching the ground and for that reason, the biggest fear is really dry lightning. And from what I can tell up, towards next week, we're talking about drier weather and the threat of even more red flag warnings.

LEMON: Wow. All right. Thank you, Indra.

ROMANS: All right. As officials continue to fight the powerful flames still raging in Colorado, residents in the Black Forest Area are starting the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. Karen and Bill Moreau evacuated their home Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday morning, their home was still intact, but by 5:00 p.m. that afternoon, they saw it burning on the local news.

Karen and Bill are joining me from Colorado Springs.

Thank you, both, for being here. I'm so sorry about the house. I really, just watching these pictures and seeing how ferocious this fire is and how quickly it's skipping across the trees.

Tell me when you were watching -- when you were watching the news, when did you realize it was your place?

BILL MOREAU, COLORADO WILDFIRE VICTIM: Well, actually, our son and daughter came down the hallway and they said that, they just said, you know, dad, your house is burning on TV. So, we went back into the room. Karen was out walking the dog and it was clearly our house. We could tell our landscaping and our outdoor furniture and those types of things and it's kind of tough to see the fire running down the roofline. But, you know, that's just how it was.

ROMANS: I know. Some of those pictures of it just skipping, just skipping and lighting these homes on fire. It's been an incredible week of highs and lows for you.

You have a brand-new grandchild, only one-week-old. Congratulations. And then, Wednesday, you get this news about your house.

How are you holding up?

B. MOREAU: Well, it's definitely got its troughs and peaks. When we think about our family, those are the peaks and when we think about the loss and the things that are in the house, routinely, that's a trough.

So, the first day was especially hard, but I think that we're doing better by just kind of counting on ourselves and our family and now that we have something to do, that seems to really help.

ROMANS: Karen, tell me, you only had 45 minutes to pack up your house. Tell me, what was it like leaving there?

KAREN MOREAU, COLORADO WILDFIRE VICTIM: It was, honestly didn't think our house was going to go. You kind of think, oh, I'm going it be unpacking this in a week or so? But just grab what you can and I -- I didn't do very well on clothes, but I think we did really good on getting some photos and living in Colorado, you get a lot of -- you do a very good job on briefing you, you know, be ready, have your documents together and things like that. So --

ROMANS: We wish you the best and wish you a great congratulation on your grandchild and best of luck to you as you go back and see what awaits you there. Still, as they're fighting, 758 firefighters fighting this fire and still only 5 percent contained.

Bill and Karen Moreau, thank you for joining us.

LEMON: Hug that grandbaby.

ROMANS: It shows you things don't matter. But, you know, it's hard. Very hard when you lose everything like that.

LEMON: Yes, it certainly is.

Now moving on. Another tragic story. The NBA finals when this happened. A packed waterfront deck at a popular Miami sports bar Shuckers collapsed, dumping patrons into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay. Dozens of people were hurt. Two suffered serious injuries.

We want to go to John Zarrella. He's following every development in the story now. He is live in North Bay Village, Florida.

And only because that bay is so shallow they believe no one drowned, John.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's absolutely right, Don. That's one thing that benefitted the fire rescue units and the dive teams that came out here immediately responding. One of the fire rescue units less than a mile away. So, they got here very, very quickly.

Now, with first light, Don, you can get an idea of what happened to that floating dock there behind me, literally collapsing in the center there. You've got the tables, the chairs, the potted palm trees and you have the railing and you've got -- every piece of debris and people were falling on top of that, the debris falling on top of them. Obviously, a lot of panic going on and a lot of bedlam as all of this was unfolding. And patrons in the restaurant, as this was going down, really said it happened in a matter of seconds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were sitting there enjoying the view after our dinner and we heard people screaming and we didn't know where it was coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were walking in through the back area and more of what we heard rather than what we saw because, first, we heard like a crack and then it was within seconds that the whole deck had collapsed into the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people went to this bar to try to see the Heat's game and many of them got hurt. We were coming from the beach and we saw all of these lights. It occurred to us, actually, figure out what was going on or wonder what was going on. So, we noticed it was really close to our hotel. We were actually not notified by some kids that the rooftop was open. So, we got access to that and I was able to record this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: You know, it happened right about 10:00 and some of the restaurant workers saying that the people were standing up and cheering at a Miami Heat basket at the time of the collapse.

And you might be able to notice, Don, behind me there, Coast Guard boat patrol boat has just shown up here probably to keep any people from coming by and getting too close to it, people coming by on boats from the water. And perhaps doing a survey already of the damage and trying to get at least a little bit of their arms around what happened here.

Of course, investigation just now getting under way and very likely to take some time to figure out what exactly caused that collapse -- Don.

LEMON: All right. John Zarrella, thank you very much.

Again, because that bay is so shallow, I remember very similar thing happened in Philadelphia back in 2001 --

ROMANS: That's right.

LEMON: Everybody fell into the Delaware. Three women drowned. Very deep, very different situation. They were, I guess you could say, lucky in some instances.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT: an 11-year-old nails the national anthem at the NBA Finals. So, why are so many people so angry about it?

LEMON: And do not miss "NEW DAY" co-host, Michaela Pereira. She sat down with Chelsea Clinton. Find out why. Will she give us some scoop on her new show as well?

Next on STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back. This is supposed to be the most uplifting moment of any game. The "national anthem" sung before a tipoff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEBASTIEN DE LA CRUZ (singing): Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He's so good. At the NBA finals, this young singer's stirring rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" drew some surprising comments. Here's Mark McKay.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please help me give a great welcome --

MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After being introduced by San Antonio mayor, Julian Castro, ahead of game four of the NBA finals on Thursday, Sebastien De La Cruz did what he does best.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DE LA CRUZ (singing): Oh say can you see --

MCKAY: It's rare that the same performer sings "The National Anthem" in back-to-back playoff games. The Spurs didn't hesitate an extending another invitation to this talented 11-year-old.

SEBASTIEN DE LA CRUZ, SANG NATIONAL ANTHEM AT GAME 4 OF NBA FINALS: When they first told me I was going to be doing "The National Anthem" and my father told me, I was like, yes, another chance to show San Antonio what I have to give them.

MCKAY: De La Cruz's first appearance this week before game three of the series saw him targeted with taunts, not from the crowd, but on social media. "Why they got a Mexican kid singing "The National Anthem"? Daniel Gilmore (ph) tweeted. "How are you singing the national anthem looking like an illegal immigrant?" tweeted Andrei Lacey (ph) of Augusta, Georgia.

Matt Cyrus (ph) added, "Who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?" A popular social media blog highlighted more than two dozen other hateful tweets. De La Cruz who was born in San Antonio was not going to let the negativity get him down.

DE LA CRUZ: I think that the people were talking bad because of what I was wearing and it's not my fault. It's what I love. And I'm just proud to be a mariachi singer and it's their opinion, actually. And if they don't like mariachi, that's their problem, but I love it.

(Singing) And the home of the brave.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCKAY: It was an encore that brought down the house, followed by congratulatory handshakes from the two head coaches. All this for a young man who sent out his own tweet this week, telling the world, "I am an American living the American dream.

Mark McKay, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: It's true. That kid is the future, all those haters are the past.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Guess who's the winner in this situation?

ROMANS: Who?

LEMON: Julian.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

ROMANS: Let's listen to him a little bit.

LEMON: Yes. Take it to break.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING) O say can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Good Friday morning. Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

"Minding Your Business, volatility came (ph) on Wall Street. Stock futures are flat this morning, but you know the Dow swung more than 100 points in eight of the nine trading days in June. We saw that yesterday when the blue chips popped nearly 200 points. Smith & Wesson shares are up five percent in pre-market trading.

The gun maker says that over the past year, earnings and sales a record because of high demand just comes on the sixth-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings.

Smartphones often the target of thieves. Now, government officials are calling on the manufacturers to install a kill switch that would render the phone useless if it's stolen. It's basically, wouldn't allow the device to be reactivated. The attorneys general of New York and San Francisco met yesterday with executives from Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft. Did you know last year, about half of the robberies in San Francisco involved mobile devices?

The under 30 crowd is ditching credit cards. A new report from FICO shows that among 18 to 29 year olds, 16 percent of them don't have a credit card. That's doubled since the recession. This comes as young people deal with high unemployment and crushing student loans. They're also delaying big purchases like cars and homes.

The pullback means credit scores for 18 to 29 year olds are improving, because they don't have a bunch of debt sitting on their credit cards.

LEMON: Finally.

ROMANS: Yes.

LEMON: Finally. Getting better.

OK. Ahead on STARTING POINT, Chelsea Clinton talks about her political future with CNN "New Day" anchor, Michaela Pereira. Come on down, girl.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I never had a chance to do this before. This is so --

(CROSSTALK)

PEREIRA: First time on CNN.

ROMANS: First time on CNN.

PEREIRA: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

ROMANS: We're back right after this.

LEMON: We're going to talk with Michaela after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. Well, since her mother stepped out of the spotlight, the only child of the Clintons has been busy making a name for herself. One of CNNs new anchors, Michaela Pereira, sat down with Chelsea Clinton to talk about girl power, her family, and the pressure of the Clinton name. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PEREIRA (voice-over): Chelsea Clinton might just be the epitome of girl power. She credits her success to her mother, Hillary, for encouraging and supporting her from a very early age. But her own achievements are not enough. She sees girls falling behind and she's determined to change that.

CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON: We need, you know, Hollywood to make movies and television shows about sexy female engineers at the fourth grade level, girls at the same, same percentages of boys say they're interested in careers in engineering or math or astrophysics, but by eighth grade that has dropped precipitously.

PEREIRA: What is happening?

CHELSEA CLINTON: And I think a few things are happening. I think that they're not seeing role models. They're seeing boy who are astronauts. They're seeing boys who are engineers. They're seeing boys who start Facebook or Google and they're not seeing girls, and it's really hard to imagine yourself as something that you don't see, particularly, when you're a kid.

PEREIRA: It's not just girls here at home that Clinton is concerned about. Her family's foundation supports ten by ten a social action campaign that produced the film "Girl Rising."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will read. I will study, I will learn.

PEREIRA: Aimed at educating girls the world over.

CHELSEA CLINTON: I'm grateful that it really is a global perspective. So, I think, so often, it's easy to think like those are problems that exist somewhere else. When in reality, we still have lots of challenges with girls and women, even here.

PEREIRA: If you were to write an open letter to girls around the globe, what would you say to them?

CHELSEA CLINTON: So, I was just in Malaysia a couple weeks ago at the Women Deliver Conference, and you know, one of the consistent themes was that every girl wanted to have her own dream. You know, even if she didn't know what it was, that she wanted to be able to write her own story and write her own script.

PEREIRA: It's perhaps not surprising that Clinton, now married and 33, is stepping into a more prominent public role. Her name is now officially part of the Clinton foundation.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We are officially renaming the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

CHELSEA CLINTON: I'm just so excited to continue working with my parents. I mean, I always learned something from them, and increasingly, I learn with them and that's just such a privilege.