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U.S./Russia Reach Deal On Syria; Four Dead, 172 Unaccounted For In Colorado; Two Colorado Towns Evacuated; Hundreds Evacuated In New Mexico; Brain-Eating Amoeba in Water Supply; Escape from Lyons; Fire Hits Storm-Weary Jersey Shore; Rough Week for United Airlines

Aired September 14, 2013 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen anything like this.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Towns evacuated. Entire roads washed away and the death toll is climbing. We'll take you live to Colorado where torrential floods have turned deadly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just insult to injury.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It took months to rebuild, but only one night to destroy. Now clean up begins at the carnage left by the Seaside, New Jersey fire.

BLACKWELL: How would you like to fly around the country for the low cost of $5? Well, you can if you took advantage of one airline's major screw up.

PAUL: So are you just waking up after Friday night? Well, we are glad to have you company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: It is good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 8:00 here on the east coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

We're starting this hour with breaking news. It is from good Geneva. Three days of talks between the U.S. and Russia over Syria's chemical weapons have ended with a deal.

PAUL: Yes, apparently didn't very productive. Earlier this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Syria has one week to submit a complete inventory of its chemical weapons.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- for U.N. administrative and logistical support to the OPCW for inspections and destruction. In the event of non compliance, we have committed to impose measures under Chapter Seven within the U.N. Security Council. Ultimately, perhaps more so than anywhere in the world, actions will matter more than words. In a case of the Assad regime, President Reagan's old adage about trust, but verify, that is the need of an update and we have committed here to a standard that says verify and verify.


BLACKWELL: CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Scuito is in Geneva. Jim, you're in the room and there were a lot of people across the country, across the world, who were skeptical that there could have been some agreement on anything. That is one element. What else is this deal?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, this is a fairly dramatic development considering that just at the beginning of this week a diplomatic solution was not even on the table. We were talking about military action against Syria. So let's talk about the key details of this plan.

One, you mentioned that President Bashar Al-Assad will have to give a full accounting of all of his chemical weapons, one of the largest stockpiles in the world, within one week. Second, U.N. inspectors will have to get immediate and unfettered access to those sites immediately and third, the goal is to have all of these chemical weapons destroyed and/or removed from Syria by the middle of next year. So this is key.

Now they have specified there will be consequences for noncompliance, but they have not specified what the consequences will be. You mentioned that they will have this as a Chapter Seven Resolution. Under Chapter Seven Resolution at the U.N., that includes the possibility of the use of force, but Secretary Kerry and his staff made it clear to me here that that will have to be debated down the line.

At some point in the future if Bashar Al-Assad is not complying, they'll have to go back to the Security Council debate the use of force again if that is something the U.S. wants to pursue.

PAUL: All right, chief national security correspondent there, Jim Scuitto in Geneva. Jim, thank you so much for keeping us updated to what happened while you were there.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Mohammed Jamjoon. He is in Beirut. We want to get some reaction to the announcement. Mohammed, what have you heard preliminarily from the people there next door, not too far away in Syria about this means for at least security for the country? Will be there any type of ceasefire or anything?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as far as the rebel Free Syrian Army goes and opposition groups, we are hearing right now that there will not be any kind of a ceasefire. We are hearing a lot of scepticism about this announcement. General Salim Idris with the Free Syrian Army, the head of the Syrian army is saying that he doesn't believe that the Al-Assad regime will actually adhere to any of these terms.

Now we've heard this kind of rhetoric before from the opposition especially in the last few days while Secretary Kerry and Minister Lavrov have been meeting in Geneva. Many people in the opposition in Syria do not believe that the Bashar Al-Assad regime will actually stick to any kind of agreement with the international community. They don't believe the Russian.

They see this as a ploy by Bashar Al-Assad to buy more time to play with the international community, to make sure that he can avert any type of aggression towards Syria while really not signing on to the dotted line when it comes to this agreement to allow chemical weapons in Syria to come under control of the international community.

A lot of skepticism still in this region, really it will just depend on the days and weeks to come as to what exactly Syria does. But the rebels there right now say they don't believe any of this -- Victor.

PAUL: What is the reaction of people there of the U.S. in this agreement between the U.S. and Russia that a lot of people would certainly never thought would come.

JAMJOOM: Well, reaction really still trickling in about this, but I can tell you in the last several days that again these diplomatic moves that are under way. The people I speak with here, especially in a city like Beirut, which is just about an hour's drive away from Damascus. They are very pessimistic about the prospect that any types of political solution being forge for the crisis in Syria.

Many people I speak with say, look, it is great that these countries want to do something, but every type of diplomatic effort has ended in some type of deadlock in the past two and a half years. They say why is it that chemical weapons are a red line? Why is that focused on so much? Why wasn't it a red line that at least a 100,000 people have been killed in Syria so far?

They would like to see an end to the killing and end to the civil war and the brutality. But they don't believe that the diplomats like the U.S. or Russia can really do anything to make a practical impact on the ground in Syria.

BLACKWELL: All right, Mohammed Jamjoom there in Beirut for us. Thank you, Mohammed.

PAUL: All right, let's bring Jill Dougherty. We have Jill Dougherty on the phone with us? OK, we are going to get with Jill in just a couple of minutes to get her reaction. Let's get more analysis on the situation and what this means for the U.S.

BLACKWELL: And check the picture from Moscow.

Let's talk about the weather because it is a big story here in the U.S. as well. More rain today in Northern Colorado. They have been dealing with the misery of floods. Thousands of people have been devastated. Homes destroyed and four people killed.

PAUL: Yes, I mean, the flood warning is still in effect for the entire Denver area now, north to Fort Collins. So we know that more storms are predicted over the weekend. The pictures you are seeing are the things that they have been dealing within the last 24, 48 hours. The waters are blamed, as you said, for four deaths at this point. But the thing is there are 170 people who are still not accounted for this morning. BLACKWELL: The two towns have been cut off by these swollen waterways, the debris passing through in the water. National Guard troops, they got a bit of a break to be able to use helicopters and high water trucks to evacuate some homes. They got 800 people out of there. A lot of people have gone days without power and no running water. Thousands more have heeded the calls to get out on their own.

PAUL: Now we should say President Obama declared an emergency for three counties around Boulder. So at least that is allowing FEMA to launch its largest rescue deployment in Colorado history -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: And it was that brief break Friday that helped them get in and get the residents out of their homes. It gave families a chance not to clean up, but to tally those losses.

PAUL: You know, Nick Valencia is in Longmont, Colorado outside Boulder. He's been there all morning. How have you seen things progress say in the last 2 hours, Nick?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the drama is still ongoing here, Victor and Christi. There is some good news. The waters have receded just a little bit and there hasn't been rain so far as we've been out there. In fact, overnight, there was very little rain that affected Boulder County. But as I mentioned, that drama is still ongoing. I just got off the phone with the Boulder County of Emergency Management.

Christi, you said that there was 170 people still unaccounted for. Well, just in the last few minutes, we've learned that that number has risen to 218 people unaccounted for. That is just in Boulder County, places like Lyons, places like Jamestown, we saw an ongoing evacuations over the course of the last couple of day.

We should caution though that while I had that conversation with the press information officer, he was saying that number is expected to go down as the Office of Emergency Management sends out their search and rescue teams. But ongoing evacuation, just last night, 162 people in Jamestown, which is just west of Boulder, they were evacuated by air because those roads are just impassable.

It's very hard for these first responders. They are dealing with a lot of difficult circumstances to try to rescue these residents and yesterday, one of the survivors of the storm talked about how difficult it was to just experience this tremendous flooding that swept through this area.


PAUL ORTIZ, RESCUED FROM FLOODED CAR: I had to pray. I had to sing to God because I want to survive.


BLACKWELL: There is more rain in the forecast for the weekend. The afternoon is expected to bring some showers as well as overnight. The area where we're standing right now, Victor and Christi, it is still under a flood warning. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for parts of Denver, Fort Collins and this area here in Longmont where I'm standing -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia, covering these biblical floods as they are being called. Thank you for that. You know, we were talking this morning that 162 people were rescued overnight and we were hoping that that number came out of the 172 still missing.

PAUL: As you heard, it is up to 218 now. That may be because there is no cell phone service. Once that stuff comes back into play, obviously they are hoping that number really plummets. But Colorado is not the only place praying for relief.

South in New Mexico, they are having some of their big problems as well. There are flooding in three counties that has forced the governor to declare a state of emergency. Evacuations have been ordered in Eddy, Sierra and San Miguel Counties. Hundreds of people have been evacuated not just by ground, but by air and the governors ordered provide desperately needed state funds, again, just like Colorado to the local officials there who need it so much.

BLACKWELL: So we have New Mexico. We have Colorado. Texas is feeling the pain, too. Alexandra Steele is here with more. These communities in Texas are dealing with something similar to what we are seeing in Colorado or not as drastic?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No, it is pretty much the same thing because you can see synoptically here it is, it's Colorado, New Mexico and Western Texas. Now here is the deal why this is happening. What we have got is an area of low pressure located here. It is a cut off low. Usually in the world of weather, we have highs and lows and we have a jet stream that kind of moves everything along.

Now what we have seen in the last couple of years is the amplified jet stream and it is not connected to the lows. There are no steering currents with the low. It is just sitting there. Adjacent to it is the high. So here with the winds clockwise around the high counter around the low. All this moisture and you can see it here in the white and the bright cloud tops and the amount of moisture that is available and lack of movement of the low.

Finally, we will see things improve because that area of low pressure finally begins to move. The problem is we won't see 14 inches again, but the ground is so saturated, that even the 1 inch to 2 inches expected will cause flooding. Here is a look at how much rain we have seen.

In Boulder, this is just in the last couple of days over 14.5 inches. On average in September, they get 1.6. We have seen an incredible amount of rain. Just to give you the perspective of the power of this rain, 6 inches of fast moving water can swipe you off your feet so incredible amount of water and that is the scenario there. We will talk more about weather wise around the country coming up and big cool downs for a lot of us.

PAUL: All right, Alexandra Steele, thank you so much. BLACKWELL: Next, we have more of the breaking news on Syria, a deal has been reached. We will take you live to Moscow for reaction.


PAUL: Big news this morning, just a couple of hours ago, the U.S. and Russia came to a deal today that envisions a way for Syria to get rid of all of the chemical weapons so that's their vision.

BLACKWELL: Yes, their vision. Foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty joins us. She is on the phone with us. Jill, tell us how about how this is being perceived in Russia because there are some of the president's critics in the U.S. who believed that when Putin came into the deal and in many ways, took charge, and took the lead here, that have made the president look weak. Are the people there in Moscow, are they envisioning their president stronger and in control of the situation? How do they see it?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I would say in general, yes, they probably are. After all, things were not looking very good at all for forcing Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control until the Russians really took up that idea and ran with it so, in that sense, yes. I think the overall approach here and you are hearing it from the Foreign Minister Lavrov is that they just want to move ahead as the United States as quickly as possible and get rid of the problem of chemical weapons, and hence, this really very quick success which is a groundbreaking deal, if it works out, to eliminate the chemical weapons.

PAUL: But is it enough to scare the Assad regime? They have this threat of consequences that's supposedly coming from both the U.S. and Russia. Is that enough, do you think, that there will be a likelihood that Assad will say OK, come on in. Let's take care of it?

DOUGHERTY: You know, so far it looks as if that is exactly what he is saying. Let's look at the deal. They say that Syria, within a week, that is much faster than usual, has to give a comprehensive list of its chemical weapons. It already said it would, according to the usual rules, but both the U.S. and Russia want that speeded up. Then they have international inspectors on the ground no later than November.

Eventually, they would destroy those chemical weapons. So far, Syria is saying it would do it, but remember, what they were saying is we don't want any more threats from the United States. The way Russia and the United States were able to finesse that is we are taking a step at the United Nations Security Council, which is called Chapter Seven. Chapter seven gives you a lot of different options.

The most serious one would be to take military action, but there are other options that you could include. At this point, they are kind of putting that into the gray zone and saying we're taking Chapter Seven, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they would take military action although the United States still says that's not off the table. There's a bit of, you know, diplomatic maneuvering here, but it seems to be enough to get the deal. BLACKWELL: All right, our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty calling in from Moscow. Thank you so much for that.

PAUL: Yes. Thanks, Jill. All right, still to come, an invisible killer is invading a Louisiana community's water supply. How it may have gotten there first of all and the warning from public health officials?


BLACKWELL: A rare amoeba blamed for the death last month of a 4-year- old boy has been detected in Louisiana community's water supply.

PAUL: Yes. State officials say this amoeba which can cause a fatal brain infection, by the way, was found in tests of water for St. Bernard Parish. That's, of course, just outside New Orleans.

BLACKWELL: They say the water is safe to drink, however they warn people don't get this water in your nose. Joining us now from New Orleans is Dr. Raoult Ratard. He is the state epidemiologist in Louisiana.

PAUL: OK, so the first thing we want to know, Doctor, we understand that it may have gotten into the water supply because chlorine levels were too low and they couldn't kill it. But, one, how does that happen and two, how do you correct it? Because as a mom, I don't want my kid anywhere near that water.

DR. RAOULT RATARD, LOUISIANA STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: The amoeba sometime makes their way into the water supply. The older treatment you do on the water to make it safe to drink will eliminate a lot of the free living amoebas that you find in the water. There will be some left there. Usually you would have some chlorine residual in the water that would prevent the amoeba from multiplying and make the water safe for all the purposes. The drinking water is really safe to drink.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about this warning because it is a bit confusing. You can drink it, but you cannot get it in your nose. People splash water on their face in the morning. They shouldn't do that. What about steam from a shower? I just want to say here that a school district there has shutdown the water fountains and closed the pools. Is this danger more than just don't get it in your nose?

RATARD: For the amoeba, you can safely drink it. That's not a problem. If the water gets at the very top of the nose, you can see the flow of the brain is here. The ceiling of the nose is here. If the amoeba can get all the way up there, you have the nerve with which you smell goes through the bones through little holes. The amoeba can make its way. When you usually wash your face in the morning, you will not get the water all the way up.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Raoult Ratard, thank you so much for giving us an update on that. A lot of people are really concerned about if they should drink or use the water at all. PAUL: He is saying if you drink it, it doesn't have a way to get up to your brain, is if it gets up that far in your nose. That, we believe, is how the two kids recently contracted the disease. I'm with you, people in Louisiana.

Moving on to Colorado, we're talking about deadly flooding. There have been people forced to evacuate and they have to decide at that point what to leave behind.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was what to grab and where to go, total chaos and confusion.


BLACKWELL: But first, Christine Romans has a preview of "YOUR MONEY" in about an hour from now. Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi and Victor. It has been five years since Lehman's collapsed. Yes we can, bank bailouts remember? Today President Obama is facing an uphill battle to rally support for military action in Syria, but he still needs support from Congress to avoid a government shutdown and a catastrophic debt default. John King and Nick Kristoff are going to join me for a very special "YOUR MONEY" that's coming up at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.


PAUL: It's so nice to spend Saturday morning with you. Thank you for being with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Five things you need to know for your NEW DAY now. Number one, a flood warning in effect in Colorado, you know, the raging waters there are blamed for at least four deaths and still more than 170 people, our Nick Valencia just got an update, that that number has increased, still accounted for. National Guard troops in helicopters, high trucks, they were able to evacuate some communities, take out more than 800 people from two towns. FEMA has launched its largest rescue deployment in Colorado history.

PAUL: And number two, after three days of talks in Geneva, this morning, U.S. and Russia agreed a few hours ago on a broad plan to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons. Secretary of State John Kerry says this deal gives Syria one week to come up with a complete inventory of its chemical weapons. Those weapons would then be destroyed over the coming months. That's the plan.

BLACKWELL: And number three. Talk about a cheap vacation. United's mistake turns into a pretty lucky break for some travelers. The airline says it'll honor it's free fare tickets a rep says human error led to United's selling tickets for as low as $5. I mean that just covers the airport and security fees. The mistake lasted on its Web site for about two hours. It only applied to domestic flights. PAUL: Number four. 34 people were taken to a hospital after a Greyhound bus flipped in southwestern Ohio this morning. It happened near the town of Hamilton. We know that there were 52 people on board when it overturned. That bus route began in Cincinnati it was bound for Detroit.

BLACKWELL: Five now, that newlywed bride accused of murdering her husband by pushing him off the cliff well she's waking up at home this morning. Jordan Linn Graham has been released on bond as she waits to stand trial for the death of her 25-year-old husband, Cody Johnson.

Now authorities say this bride in Montana she pushed Johnson to his death eight days after their wedding. It was during an argument police say in Glacier National Park. Now if she is convicted, Graham could be sentenced to life in prison.

PAUL: So we've been hearing this word a lot this morning. Evacuation particularly in Colorado -- when you hear evacuation, you think ok, I'm going to grab my kids. I'm going to get a couple of keepsakes, get in your car and drive away. But it's not that smooth.

BLACKWELL: Yes it's not always so quick and easy. The couple you are about to meet, they only had you know ways to get out or one way actually to get out of Lyons, Colorado. And that's by hiking two miles up a ridge. Get this they did it with an eight-month-old baby. And even then, the floods caught up with them.

Catherine Smith and Mandy Stepanovsky they join us now from Brighton. Good to have you with us. First before we get to the story of when you decided to leave what was it like hiking up that ridge with your eight-month-old?

MANDY STEPANOVSKY, EVACUATED FROM LYONS, COLORADO: Well we actually do a lot of hiking. So in the grand scheme of things if you look back on the past 48 hours, the hike was actually one of the easier parts of our journey. As you mentioned, it was kind of when to leave and what to bring and what route to take.

PAUL: All right. So when you first got word, kind of walk us through the moment. When you first got word did you know this is the only way out?

CATHERINE SMITH, EVACUATED FROM LYONS, COLORADO: We did. We live in a neighborhood that is only accessible by bridges via car. So when those became compromised, one bridge completely blew out and the other was very much impassible. We started looking at other options. And being avid hikers, we took to Google maps and we made a plan with my brother and we made a decision what we felt was the best decision for our family.

BLACKWELL: So you make it to your brother's house. After the bridge blows and you have to hike up this ridge two miles and you get to your brother's house and then what happened?

SMITH: Then we had just showered and eaten a meal and I hear my brother yell, "Mudslide. Get out. Get out. Get out." And we grabbed the baby and we had two dogs and we ran to higher ground. It was terrifying. A huge surge of debris and mud and water broke free from above his house and rushed directly into his house and through his house.

PAUL: So where did you go, what happened at that point?

STEPANOVSKY: Well so Catherine and I were standing on higher ground outside. Her brother and his roommate and another friend were kind of grabbing things from around the slide in the house that they could save or that we thought we needed to take quickly. I grabbed the dogs. Catherine grabbed the baby. And she went to look for neighbors who were home and luckily found this wonderful couple and family who grabbed the baby from her and welcomed us all in for the evening.

BLACKWELL: So you told us about Catherine's brother's house. What about your home?

SMITH: So far, based on the aerial footage I have found online, our home is dry and we are in much better shape than a lot of our neighbors and community members in Lyons. A lot of people have really experienced a tragedy. A lot of homes are completely destroyed, businesses. It's very sad. But we are very, very lucky to say that so far we think we're -- we're ok.

STEPANOVSKY: Yes and we've been fortunate enough to be in some contact with neighbors who have since gone into our house and secured the things that were there. And unplugged our fridge and tried to make it so that when we do go back, whenever we are able to, that our house is in good shape. So we're really grateful for all of them.

PAUL: Ok so are you still at the neighbor's house now? How is the baby doing and when do you expect to be able to go back?

SMITH: The baby is a rock star. She slept through the two-mile hike. She didn't really seem to be fazed. We are now at Mandy's mom's house in Brighton, Colorado. We really just after the mudslide in Boulder, we are very eager to just get out of town. We kind of reached our capacity.

PAUL: And then when do you think you will be able to go back? Have you gotten any word?

STEPANOVSKY: We just kind of heard bits and pieces from friends via text. So we're not entirely sure what, you know, how accurate everything is. But we've heard it might be up to a month before we'll be able to go back.

BLACKWELL: Up to a month?

PAUL: A month?


SMITH: Yes there are no -- there is no infrastructure. The roads are down, no utilities. Sewage, there's fuel, we were watching fuel tanks float down the river before we left which is another reason we decided to leave. There was diesel fuel leaking on roads. It just it felt, it's -- it's a disaster zone.

BLACKWELL: And you left before the evacuation. Were there any local, maybe not the national resources, but local resources there helping people to get out?

STEPANOVSKY: There are local resources there helping in every way they could. I mean they put up -- kind of senders at the high schools and just neighbors getting together.

Unfortunately like Catherine mentioned, our neighborhood was isolated by these -- these bridges blowing out and flooding and so unfortunately, there was no way out or in via roads. So yes the local resources -- locals were doing the best they could with the resources they had. But until, I believe yesterday, people weren't able to pass into our neighborhood.

PAUL: Wow. What a journey?

BLACKWELL: Wow such a tragedy and for so many people. But Catherine Smith, Mandy Stepanovsky we're so happy you're safe.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And the toddler is safe. She is a rock star. And your brother is safe. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

SMITH: Thank you.

PAUL: We are keeping all of you in our thoughts.

BLACKWELL: Here on NEW DAY we're bringing you a look into the terrible floods as only CNN can -- joined now by Amy Ford director of communications for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Amy first, give us an idea of what you're seeing. Because we've seen roads washed out one after another. Give us an idea of how the roads are this morning. Are more roads being washed out?

AMY FORD, DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (via telephone): You know what we're seeing is the roads that were washed out remain that way. But what we're also seeing is that the flood waters decided to move east. So we're having more closures as it comes through our eastern plains and some on those sites. We do have significant damage on many roadways and bridges and others. And so we are going to be out inspecting all of these through today to make sure that they might be safe and passable for motorists.

PAUL: We're looking at some video right now of the -- oh, my gosh, they are just frightening images of how fast and furious this water is traveling and how it ripped apart so many roads and bridges. I'm just curious, you say that you're going to be out there. But what -- is there anything you can do to prevent some more roads and bridges from going under?

FORD: You know, there really isn't I mean there are many roads and bridges. You are getting images of some that we haven't been able to even get back to assess what the damage is. And the interesting part is that we're also used to seeing these images of the moving water now. That we might all be a little deceived as the weather clears up just a little bit during the day that's going to get a little more intense again tonight.

The road that might look passable now because it doesn't have water still might have damage on it. It might have damage underneath and on the base. And so that's the part where we're going to be going in and looking. And frankly we're not going to be opening roads up unless we think they are 100 percent safe for the travelers.

BLACKWELL: We know that there are at least two towns that are cut off because there is no way to get to them the roads are washed out, the bridges are gone. What, if anything, can you do to help reached out the local people the national people get some help?

FORD: Well, I'm glad you mentioned that because one of the things that we were able to do last night around midnight is actually open up a roadway into Estes Park. And we do so just obviously for the residents so they can get some relief and get out; also for emergency service providers to get in and also some delivery services to get in. There are manned checks points actually that the National Guard who will be letting people in and out of the area but we're very happy our crews worked long and hard to clear debris and to get these roadways open. And frankly they're going to still be out there making improvements and repairs on these roads even as we're allowing people to use them.

So we're doing our best to get out there where we can. But recognize that there is just such a breadth of impact right now that we are going to be working hard for the next several days to make sure these roads are safe.

PAUL: Yes you're doing important work, Amy. And we know that there are so much yet to come -- Amy Ford of the Colorado Department of Transportation. wishing you all the very best there and that you're all safe -- stay safe and are able to just tackle this thing. Thank you for being with us.

FORD: Thanks, Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right. Now to find how you can help the victims of the Colorado flood because obviously there seems so much that needs to be done. Visit our "Impact Your World" page at

BLACKWELL: All right. Still to come flames takedown what was put back up after Superstorm Sandy just a few months after this Boardwalk reopened. We'll have a live report on the monster fire that just hit the Jersey Shore.


BLACKWELL: And we just talked about the flooding out west and there is fire in the east in New Jersey. The business owners on the Boardwalk, they know all about starting over. PAUL: Yes but nobody thought about doing it twice in less than a year. But this monster fire ravaged through dozens of stores along the Jersey Shore, the same place yes you are right that just recovered from last October's Superstorm Sandy. With all the people just standing and watching they could do nothing and look at those flames. They traveled four blocks on the Boardwalk that fire did.

And reporter Margaret Conley spoke with one man who is picking up the pieces for a second time now.



MARGARET CONLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seaside Heights was rebuilt with the optimism that the Boardwalk was stronger than the storm. Less than a year later, livelihoods have been destroyed again. Residents are in shock after they watched their businesses burn to ash.

CHRIS DENNIS, OWNER, SHOOT THE GEEK: There was nothing I could do.

CONLEY: Chris Dennis, owner of Shoot the Geek amusement stall had opened on the Boardwalk in 1992 lost at least $40,000 in merchandise from Superstorm Sandy. He will have to start from scratch to rebuild and estimates damages from the fire are at least another $30,000.

Seeing the damage up close for the first time since the fire, he says this time the damage will take longer to repair.

DENNIS: Sandy wasn't bad. We were able to get back in business as soon as we had the Boardwalk in front of us. The clean up wasn't nearly as bad. This, well, you look at my building right now clearly it's going to have be cleaned up a lot. There's nothing left except for a shell and it's not even a whole shell in its entirety.

CONLEY: Chris' stall was just a few feet away from where the firefighters built the trench that stopped the fire from spreading.

The fire was traveling underneath the boardwalk.

DENNIS: Yes. Well, the fire -- the fire traveled under the Boardwalk. They got it contained to a certain point, but once it was in my building, they couldn't get down to the basement to put the fire out in the building because it would have just been unsafe for them.

CONLEY: And what was in the basement?

DENNIS: My plush merchandise and everything else -- a lot of valuable stuff that was conducive for me to run my business.


BLACKWELL: Margaret Conley joins us now live from Seaside Heights. This fire spread quickly across four blocks, but of course, at some point the firefighters were able to stop it from spreading. Tell us more about how they were able to do that? CONLEY: Yes, Victor. This fire raged for nine hours. And we're standing right at the point where the firefighters had to dig a trench. They dug a trench using the Boardwalk that was new, that was rebuilt from Sandy. They had to use that to block the flames so they would not spread any further.

The businesses behind me, they are completely destroyed. The businesses in front of me, some of them are going to be open today.

PAUL: Isn't that something? What a difference. All right.

Hey, Margaret Conley, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

It looks like they have some good weather and sunshine there to deal with.

BLACKWELL: And they need it.

PAUL: You know, if you are like me and I think like you too. Man did we miss the boat. Did you get in on it?

BLACKWELL: Nobody called. I did not get a text, no Twitter message.

PAUL: I'm wondering if you got in on the best travel deal in history thanks to one airline's major mess up.


PAUL: There you go. Dancing in September. And as my four-year-old says -- good morning. Good morning to you all you waking up in New York City. What a gorgeous day.

BLACKWELL: They surprised me with Earth, Wind and Fire. That was a nice thing. It was nice.

PAUL: That's a toe tapper, isn't it?


PAUL: It'll keep you going.

BLACKWELL: A leg shaker.

Rapper Kanye West, he might love his girlfriend Kim, but he's got no love for the paparazzi. West has been charged with battery and attempted theft. This is after a scuffle in July with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport.

Here's what police happened. They say West attack this photographer after he tried to take pictures of him leaving the airport. If he's convicted, West could at least face six months in jail and you know, he has that tour coming up.

PAUL: Yes, I know. People aren't going to be very happy about that.

BLACKWELL: Inconvenient. PAUL: Hey, listen, technology is I cannot live without it. Guess what? Sometimes it turns on us, ruins our lives. It made for a rough week for United Airlines; maybe not so much for the customers but United.

BLACKWELL: I don't know why I growled there. It just felt like the right thing to do.

PAUL: Because you did not get in on this?

BLACKWELL: No, I'm really angry about this. Two hours on Thursday, the company's Web site offered tickets for $5 to $10 a pop -- that just covers the airport and security fees --

PAUL: right.

BLACKWELL: -- so essentially, the flight is free. 15 minutes of that two-hour period, some of the tickets were free. Now once the news hit, the Twitter sphere, the site was shut down due to an overwhelming amount of traffic -- understandably.

PAUL: Sure. Now the airline says it's going to honor those rates, which maybe surprising a lot of people. I would like to know how many they will have to honor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I'd like to know too.

PAUL: Yes. But there was a similar mishap, remember back in 2008, where they honored reduced rates then too because it forgot at that point, I guess, to include some fuel surcharges in its airfare. But today, United is reporting this Web site fire sale is caused by human error.

So technology may have carried out the deed, but someone over there sure had a hand in it. I hope they didn't lose their job.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's hope not.

Let's turn now our focus to three letters GTA.

PAUL: I did not know what this meant.

BLACKWELL: Games know what it means. It's a little acronym that has caused a lot of failed relationships -- dating all the way back to the days -- archaic days of the playstation video game console. Remember those days? I don't because I don't play video games.

But we are talking about a game called "Grand Theft Auto".

PAUL: No Atari, no Pacman?

BLACKWELL: Well, I did play with the 16-bit Nintendo.

PAUL: There you go.

BLACKWELL: But it's been a while. PAUL: Well, this latest version of "Grand Theft Auto 5" we should tell you hit the stores in the U.S. this Tuesday. If you're not familiar GTA, it stirred up a lot of controversy for its numerous, let's say, unsavory aspects. You got simulated car-jacking, prostitution, cop killing, just a few of them but the loudest outcry apparently is not from concerned parents. It's from the countless girlfriends who have to sit and watch their boyfriends play this darn game.

BLACKWELL: So a group of women decided to express their distaste in song. Listen.


BLACKWELL: Wow. I'm sure the gaming company loves this, though.

PAUL: Those girlfriends might have new boyfriends by the time all is said and done. You never know.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they actually sound pretty good, too.

PAUL: Better watch it. They do actually, don't they?


PAUL: All right. So everybody just so you know, relationship difficulties may be ahead.

BLACKWELL: With the game. Put the warning on the box.

We have a serious story we have been following all morning. That bus crash in Ohio, it left more than half the people on the bus in the hospital. We're going to have an update on that accident coming up. Stay with us.


Blackwell: "Must See Moments" for you now. Bear sightings are not uncommon in Tennessee, right? Bears are everywhere.

PAUL: No, not so much.

BLACKWELL: But you do not expect to see a bear window shopping in downtown Gatlinburg.

PAUL: I don't know if the bear was window-shopping but --

BLACKWELL: He's looking around at least.

PAUL: -- yes.

BLACKWELL: So this black bear caused a scene, you can see here, just going through downtown and running up and down Main Street. The people there understandably stunned by this. Everybody has their cell phone out taking pictures and video. Thankfully the bear made its way out of town. No one was hurt. I cannot believe they are getting so close to this bear -- I can't.

PAUL: I know. Obviously, here I am thinking the poor bear is probably freaked out. I know --

BLACKWELL: Ok. So you thought about the bear first.

PAUL: -- well no, not first. But I did think about it.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: Hey, try not to look away from this. I know you are going what the heck is that? That, my friends, is the world's ugliest animal according to the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. Yes, there is such a thing.

BLACKWELL: Who joins that group?

PAUL: I don't know. But they announced that the blob fish is the society's new mascot after voters made their selection online. This is the fish that lives on the ocean floor off the coast of Australia in Tasmania.

BLACKWELL: I want to learn more about the group.

Thanks for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: Much more ahead on NEW DAY SATURDAY which continues right now.

Oh, sit back and relax. Grab your coffee. Grab your breakfast. We're going to get you informed. That is our job.