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Death Toll Expected to Rise in London Apartment Fire; Congressman and 4 Others Wounded in U.S. Shooting; One Year Since Murder of Jo Cox. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired June 14, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, in West London, an hour-long program. Behind me, the Grenfell Towers, which has been burning
almost consistently, smouldering now for the past 24 hours. At least 12 people have been killed according to authorities, and that number is likely
64 were taken to hospital. Ten went to hospital themselves. 20 at least remain in critical condition.
This in a city, in a country that has been reeling from violence, from post election political uncertainty for the last several weeks.
Also ahead, in the United States, a shooting at a Republican Party baseball game. We will have all the latest in this special one-hour program coming
Good evening, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour. Welcome to the program.
We are here in West London, where shortly after midnight, the tower block behind me, 24 to 27 floors high, has been burning. It has been
smouldering. And the evening paper, London's evening paper, has this simple message -- "Deathtrap."
Many, many people were caught up there. We understand some 125 families and apartments. At least 12 people are now known to be dead. That number
doubled over the last several hours when authorities posted six have been killed. And authorities know that in that charred hulk behind me, there
will be more fatalities found.
74 people are at hospital. 20 of them in critical condition. This as we said, buffeting London, buffeting this country after a year of violence and
There have been terrorist attacks over the last three months -- London Bridge Borough Market, Manchester and Westminster. And before that, a year
ago, a rare political assassination, that of Jo Cox. One week before the EU referendum. And we will be talking to her husband later in this hour.
But, first, our Isa Soares on how this disaster unfolded. What it means to the people, to this community, and to this neighborhood?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Reports started coming in shortly after midnight. A massive fire in West London had caught hold in a 24-storey
tower block that housed hundreds of people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody who is staying in Grenfell, they need to ring 999. This is a dedicated line for this incident.
SOARES: Witnesses describe the chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard shouting, it's getting bigger, it's getting bigger. I said what's going on here? The smell is getting stronger. So I
go to the front door, I peep through the spy hole, I open the door to see what's going on. There's neighbors who are running out. People are
screaming, there's a fireman, and they're going get out the block, get out the block. Part of it (INAUDIBLE) and it was spreading like wildfire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as I ran out, I saw already the fire holding one side and inside we didn't know what's going on because nothing came in.
And we didn't know. No alarm. No water. Nothing. You know, like it was very shocking.
SOARES: 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters battled through the night to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters said they had never
experienced anything like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have never seen a fire of this nature before in my 29-year history. It's a completely unprecedented nature and it will
require some further investigation quite clearly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is extremely distressing and devastating. Should I begin by saying my thoughts and prayers, as I'm sure the thoughts and
prayers of the entire country over the families and friends of those in the building and affected by this tragic and horrific fire.
SOARES: Ss the scale of the devastation became clearer, local residents voiced their disbelief at what has happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is horrific. It is so awful to see. I'm watching people at the windows, waving and shouting for help and screaming.
And then just seeing their flats engulfed with smoke and not knowing whether they were safe or not, be able to get out, it was just horrible to
see. Sad. We felt completely helpless because you couldn't do anything.
SOARES: As politicians expressed their sorrow, families were evacuated to local community centers. The fire is now under control. But the fear is
that the death toll will continue to rise.
Isa Soares, CNN, London.
AMANPOUR: So with the community rallying around with people desperately trying to get news of those who may still be separated from, we're going to
go now to Fred Pleitgen. He's been at the other side of this building with a slightly different view of what is going on there.
Fred, what is happening right now?
[14:05:13] FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christiane. Well, there's several things going on right now.
First of all, from our vantage point, we can see that the fire department is actually still at work on that building. Apparently, it is still
smouldering. There is still a smoke coming from it. But we can also see them dousing the building with water. It's something that they've been
doing over the past couple of hours. And it's interesting because intermittently, we still can see the flames sort of flair up in that
So the fire department earlier today said that they are actually still combating the blaze as the firefighters are also going through what is now
the ruin of that building, looking to see if there's still might be bodies inside.
Of course, tragically, they say that they believe that the death toll, which has been confirmed to 12 is very likely to also still rise.
And then, of course, what you have, Christiane, is the community reaction here. It's been very, very large and certainly full of compassion.
There's a lot of people who are very traumatized. Not only the folks who are inside the building and manage to get out, but also a lot of the other
people who are neighbors here.
It's a very close-knit community and people know each other. And they say one of the worst things for them, maybe the worst thing was the feeling of
helplessness, as they were looking at the building and there were still people inside who clearly couldn't get out.
You know, the stories of people throwing their infants out of the building to try and save them. People trying to put knots into bed sheets to try
and make a rope to try and get out of the building. The despair that many people witnessed say is absolutely traumatizing.
And at the same time, the community here is coming together. Really there's a lot of donations coming in and just folks who are saying we are
going to be there for the people who are so tragically affected by this fire.
AMANPOUR: Fred, thank you.
It is truly a horror story. When you think of the people who were trying to get somebody to help them, all the way up there on those top, top
floors, it really defies belief.
Ken Livingstone served as mayor of London from 2000 to 2008 and he joins me now.
Mr. Livingstone, as the former mayor of this city and as a human being and a Londoner, just give me your reaction to what's been unfolding since
midnight last night.
KEN LIVINGSTONE, FORMER MAYOR OF LONDON: I think what's been amazing is the way Londoners have come together. People have turned up and taken
people to their homes, turned up and given them clothing. Most people lost their entire possessions in this terrible fire. And it's very much like
the bombings in Manchester and the terrorist attacks in London.
The community really does come together. It makes you very proud of what we are as a people.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Mayor, you know, everybody wants to know how, in a first world capital, does a building under regulations go up in smoke like that
and nobody seems to -- I mean, I was stunned by what the fire chief said, that in 29 years, this is unprecedented. She's never seen anything like
LIVINGSTONE: Well, this building was built just over 40 years ago. And we had very strong regulations. And I think one of them was that the walls on
a tower block like that had to be able to resist fire for an hour. And then about 30 years ago, a lot of the regulations were scaled down, and a
couple of years ago, there was a makeover. And this used to be owned by the local council, owned by the local council, but it was sort of partially
privatized. And the firm that was doing this work may have actually not spent the money it should.
They put new cladding on the outside. It looks as though, it's possible that the cladding just soared the fire up all around the building very
rapidly. Tenants were saying they couldn't hear the fire alarm. The sprinklers weren't working.
So it may very well be that, you know, we haven't -- the firm running this block hasn't been prepared to spend the money it should have done to make
its tenants safe. And I think there's going to be a public inquiry. The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for that. And I think we may find
there is going to be a big increase in spending to ensure that these tall buildings are safe and not trying to save money here and there and, you
know, take risks with people's lives.
AMANPOUR: You know, we have heard like you, the story about the cladding and we just don't know. All the authorities say it's simply too early.
And you're right the investigation continues.
But you know, you were mayor when this city went through the worst terrorist attack on 7/7. And you've seen what the current mayor has had to
deal with -- Westminster, London Bridge Borough. What the country has had to deal with. You know, the Manchester attacks. Just put it in
I mean, how does this country, this city still stand tall? There's been massive buffeting by violence.
[14:10:00] LIVINGSTONE: Well, we need to put this in perspective.
I mean, you go back to World War II. We were bombed every night by the Nazis. Hundreds of people night after night dying. And that bombing did
not break the will of the British people.
People took neighbors into their homes. Where parents had been killed, they adopted their children. We did not allow those attacks to divide us
then. And what we're seeing now is the same very strong response of people coming together, and making sure that, you know, we're not going to be
divided by terrorists or by terrible horrific incidents like this.
AMANPOUR: And just one more thing. I mean, you know, going through the archives and going through the articles, first of all, we hear from the
community that they went over and over again complaining to their local counselors, to the tenancy management organization and simply their
complaints and their concerns were not met. That's one issue.
And another issue, it appears that some one-third of MPs in Westminster are in fact landlords. The majority of those from the Tory Party and about a
year ago, they defeated a bill that would have had regulations that scored, you know, keeping buildings and properties, quote, "Fit for human
LIVINGSTONE: I mean, in fact, this is what's going wrong with our politics. When I was elected to parliament, there were a lot of ordinary
people in parliament. Whether they were businessmen who had come to sit on the conservative benches or trade unionists, and local counsels on the
labour, they came there to serve.
And then over these last 30 years, it seems to be more and more about getting rich, looking after yourself. And I think one of the real
tragedies here, all those tenants who over the last 18 months have warned that they didn't feel safe in that block.
In the old days, the local councils were elected by those tenants. They paid attention. Now, I mean, that accountability is gone. I think we need
to go back to local councils managing the housing that's there, not leaving it to housing associations, but actually many of them are no better than
AMANPOUR: Ken Livingstone, thank you so much for joining us. Some really big, important questions to be asked as this investigation continues.
And when we come back, we go overseas to the United States, a crisis there as a shooter takes aim at an American congressman and staffers at a morning
baseball practice. We go to Washington live next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to West London where that smouldering building still stands a halt. You can see all the way through it now. So many
families disrupted, so many lives lost.
But turning now to a crisis in the United States. This morning's shooting attack just outside Washington, where the House Republican whip Steve
Scalise and four others, including two Capitol police officers, were wounded.
Representative Scalise appears to have been shot in the hip. He's had surgery and we're told he is in stable condition. The congressman is the
third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.
[14:15:00] The shooter, James Hodgkinson, is a 66-year-old from Illinois. He was killed in the attack. Hodgkinson was strongly opposed to President
Trump. His Facebook feed is filled with anti-Trump sentiments. He was reportedly a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016.
The shooting took place at a practice of the Republican Party baseball team. The congressional party, preparing for an annual charity game
against the Democrats. That would have been tomorrow evening. But when news of this shooting broke, the Democratic team joined in prayer for their
Ryan Nobles is following all the latest developments on Capitol Hill.
Ryan, do they have more information, more details on the state of those who have been wounded? And on the shooter himself, any more knowledge about
what might have motivated that?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't have too many more specifics, Christiane. We do know that the five people that were shot all
appear to be in a situation where they're not dealing with life threatening situations. So they are all expected to recover.
The shooter is someone from Illinois, as you mentioned. He's reportedly someone that volunteered for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, and
when the congressman that was there at the field believes that he had a conversation with this man before the shooting took place, where he
specifically asked whether or not it was Republicans or Democrats participating in this baseball practice, and he was told that it was
Republicans. And the shooting happened just moments later.
But I have to tell you, Christiane, that it is definitely an odd morning and afternoon here on Capitol Hill. These lawmakers all appear to be in a
sense of shock, especially those that were on that baseball field this morning.
Among them, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who talked about that experience during the shooting this morning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Steve Scalise, he was playing second base, fielding balls at the time. Steve's OK, we believe. But Steve drag
himself 15 yards on the second base of the field, laying motionless out there. (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: And, Christiane, to give you an idea what it's like up here on Capitol Hill, I was actually getting here to the Capitol building about
four hours after the shooting would have taken place. And as I was coming through security, Senator Flake, who you just heard from, was actually
walking behind me.
He still had his baseball uniform on. He hadn't even taken off his baseball cleats. I talked to him very briefly. He was still shocked and
didn't really know what to make of this situation. Among the things that happened there that morning was that Flake himself actually went to tend to
a congressional staffer who had been shot. Attempted to cover the wound and stop the bleeding.
This is not a situation that any of these members expected to be in this morning. Just out for a friendly baseball practice before this charity
game that was supposed to take place tomorrow night.
And we should say members of Congress are hoping that it still does take place.
AMANPOUR: Ryan, that would be a great testament if that game went on. To imagine a bipartisan baseball game, and it could have been so much worse.
Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
And after a break, I speak to Brendan Cox, activist, campaigner and husband to Joe Cox, who was killed by a white supremacist here in the UK last year.
He tells me about his plan to honor her memory with street parties that bring people together. That's next.
[14:20:50] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, live from this neighborhood still in shock in West London.
And in the United States, shock, too. The shooting of a top U.S. lawmaker Steve Scalise is another stark reminder of gun violence in the United
States. Political assassinations here, though, are rare.
But this weekend, this country will come together to remember a tragic anniversary. The murder of Jo Cox, a 41-year-old British MP, at the hands
of a far-right mentally unstable right wing fanatic.
Jo's husband, Brendan, is organizing community events across the UK. Street parties and picnics to celebrate her life. A life she devoted to
advocating unity over division. It's been inspired by this message of hope from her maiden speech to parliament back in 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JO COX, SLAIN BRITISH MP: While we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is
that we are far more united and are far more in common than that which divides us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: On Monday, Brendan joined me in the studio just across town to discuss his wife's life and legacy. It was the day his memoir was
published. He spoke movingly about his loss and how their young children are dealing with their mother's death, especially amid all this utter
brutality, horror and tragedy that left its mark on Britain over the past three months.
AMANPOUR: Brendan Cox, welcome to the program.
BRENDAN COX, HUSBAND OF JO COX: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You've just written this book about your wife's life. Why did you choose that title?
COX: Where it came from was Jo's maiden speech where she said that the amazing thing about her constituency, which has been kind of diverse, very
different, was less the fact that it was diverse and different, because that's part of our country, but more of the fact that despite all that
difference, the things that we have in common are more important than the things that divide us. And more in common came from that maiden speech.
But also I think it also came from her sense of our country and the time that we're living in, where I think we spend a lot of time talking about
diversity and difference and we're not very good actually at talking about the things that bind us together.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's interesting you say that because as we speak, it is the anniversary of her brutal murder. But in the meantime, we've had
terrible attacks as well. So do you actually believe still in the more in common philosophy?
COX: Yes, even more so. I think what the extremists show, the extremist, whether they are fascists, white supremacists like the person that killed
Jo, or whether they're Islamic extremists, they have incredible overlap.
I mean, they essentially are both driven by hate. They both believe that we have to live in pure societies where difference can't mix. And they're
met with revulsion by the vast majority of all of our countries. And so I think that central narrative about togetherness, about how we draw
communities closer together, is the most important thing we can do, both to isolate the extremists and actually because it's also -- I think we're at a
stage in the world where people feel they want to live in closer communities. But that doesn't just happen. We have to do something about
AMANPOUR: I want to go back to your wedding. The way you met, the story of your romance is really one for the love stories. She was older than
you. She was your senior when you first met. How did that happen?
I mean, did she ask you out? Did you ask her out? How did it go?
COX: I'm not sure how we met. I don't know how romantic it was. I think we first met on a conference call, which I think in terms of romantics is
probably not up there. But that's where we sort of first started working together.
And she was -- had this amazing reputation as this sort of over impressive, very driven, very passionate person, and we were very different. But what
we both had is this sort of energy and drive to try and get things done.
So we started sort of working together a little bit more. And then I play in a very, very bad band. And she came to a rehearsal. And then our first
date, she invited me around for dinner. She burned it very, very badly, which was a running theme in our relationship, mostly her burning food.
[14:25:17] And yes, we found out then that we have this amazingly sort of shared set of interests. And just this mutual energy that we threw at life
and we threw at each other. And yes, all is good.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you then, how have you been coping in the year since she's gone, and how have the children been coping?
COX: I think, I think the children have been coping as well as can be. And for me, you know, that's both the hardest thing, because they are --
you see the greatest pain when I imagine what they're going through, and when I know what they're missing. That's the hardest, hardest possible
But they're also the thing that get me out of bed in the morning, physically. But also emotionally, you know they are the things that keep
you going. And my kids are amazing. And they have a lot of Jo's spirit. And I see that, and I love that. That's the thing that keeps me going and
keeps me both physically getting up in the morning but also able to hold it together.
AMANPOUR: How did you first hear about what had happened to her?
COX: I was in a restaurant near to my boat with a colleague of mine, and I got a phone call from -- from somebody that worked with job, telling me
that she had been attacked but not in any detail. And I went as quickly as I could to get on the train.
And when I was on my way to the train, I was told that she had been shot and stabbed, and that is when I first realized how serious it could be.
And I remember running to the train, just thinking, just be OK. If you're injured, if you're hurt, we'll be OK. We'll put you all back together.
Just don't die. That was the thing that was in my head running to the train.
AMANPOUR: And then you got the call on the train that she's gone?
COX: Yes. So then I -- I was on the train and spoke to her sister, Kim, who told me that she hadn't made it when I was on the train on the way.
AMANPOUR: You talk about yourself and what you experienced and obviously so much about her wonderful life. But also about your children and what
decisions you had to make in those immediate moments afterwards.
And you share this incredible story of how you decided to let them say goodbye to her for the last time.
COX: Yes. I think in the days after what happened, one overriding priority which was to focus on the kids, and to make sure that I did
everything I possibly could to make it as less bad as it possibly could be given the circumstance.
So I got a lot of advice. I spoke a lot to people I knew or friends of friends who had lost their own partners, or who had lost parents when they
were younger to try and understand how to go about things. And one of the pieces of advice was, first you need to be very open and to tell them what
has happened, not to try to keep that from them.
And then secondly, as part of that, them seeing Jo's body was an important part of them understanding and grieving. This to me I really struggled
with emotionally, but we did it, and it was definitely the right decision.
AMANPOUR: I just want to read a little bit from the book about that. "We were with Jo for not much more than a few minutes, but it was long enough
for our children to reach out and hold their mom's hand one last time. They touched her hair and they spoke to her. We love you mommy, they both
said as they sprinkled love arts over her. I didn't want them to stay too long and I persuaded them gently that we needed to leave."
That was hard.
COX: Yes, I mean -- I think when you're that little, death is quite a hard thing to conceive of, to conceptualize. And so in a way, the language you
have to use has to be very clear, you know, the whole -- people used to say they're asleep or up in the clouds or whatever. That is all very unuseful
according to child psychologist. You have to be quite brutal -- brutally honest so that they do understand what's happened.
And I think seeing their mom, clearly knowing that the life wasn't there anymore, helped them move to that -- move to that next stage.
AMANPOUR: And what do you do as the father of such young children who have been through this, when there's a Manchester for instance. Did they hold
on to that?
COX: Yes, yes. I mean --
AMANPOUR: Or London Bridge?
COX: Yeah. I mean, I told them about both. And I think you know the way that I explained it to them was to say that -- say what happened, but to
talk about how rare that was. And talk about how news focuses on those individual acts of hatred and drama and not the millions more acts of
everyday kindness. I think later they realized that.
They -- you know, they know what happened to their mom. They know that somebody did it and made a choice to do it. But they also know that, you
know, they stood in front of the crowd of thousands at Trafalgar Square of people expressing their compassion.
They -- on the drive to Jo's funeral, it was lined by thousands and thousands of people, and Cuillin turned to me and said I knew people loved
mommy, but I didn't realized that this many people did.
AMANPOUR: That's beautiful.
COX: I think for them, they still have that sense of, you know, this being a great place to live and people generally being kind, realizing there are
some horrible people and evil people out there. But they don't represent anybody other than themselves.
AMANPOUR: Brendan Cox, thank you very much indeed. A remarkable, remarkable story. As we told you, Brendan Cox wants to get people to
street parties and picnics. It's called the great together to last all weekend.
Today, Londoners here are coming together in the face of this crisis. Residents and high profile locals like Virgin Richard Branson and the
London Board International Chef Jamie Oliver offering a place to get food and shelter. When we come back, we'll go live to a local community center
giving safe haven to survivors of this fire. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, where we are following the harrowing after math of the fire at a west London apartment high rise, just
behind me. I'm going to take a quick look back at what we know now. At least twelve people are dead. That's double what authorities told us a few
hours ago, and it is going to rise, that death toll. Dozens are injured after a massive blaze tore through the 24-stories of that Grenfell Tower.
And police as they said, expect the number of deaths to rise, because a number of people are missing. We don't know exactly how many, but there
are apparently two Italians. Many were residence were trapped in their homes, some so desperate, they leapt to their own deaths to escape the
[14:35:00] Residents have reported concerns about fire safety often over recent years. The building had been recently refurbished. So questions
are being raised about whether or not those updates may have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.
I want to talk more about those reported fire safety concerns with my next guest. He's Jim Fitzpatrick, and he's a Labor Member of Parliament and
he's also a firefighter for more than twenty years and he's joining me live now. Mr. Fitzpatrick, welcome to the program. I just want to ask you, as
JIM FITZPATRICK, LABOR MEMBER, PARLIAMENT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: ... and as a former firefighter, when you saw this on television this morning, did you think as the Fire Chief Dany Cotton has said, this is
just totally unprecedented, she had never seen anything like this in all of her twenty-nine years.
FITZPATRICK: Well, that's right. The chief commissioner has said in twenty-nine years, she never seen anything like it. I don't think we've
seen anything like it in Britain. There have been some high rise blazes in the Emirates and Dubai in recent years which are kind of reflected this.
But this is singular. This has not happened in the UK before.
We had a fire in South London in 2009, where six people lost their lives, and there were recommendations made as a result of that fire to try and
prevent incidents like this from happening and clearly, lessons from that have not been learned fully, and now we have many more lives have been
AMANPOUR: Mr. Fitzpatrick, when you looked at it and using all your expertise, what do you think it could have -- and we've heard cladding,
we've heard possible electric faults. You know the mayor -- the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone basically said that you know, over the last
fifty years since the building was built, you know, lives have become so electronic and electrical. You know, what do you think might have
happened? I realize its speculation.
FITZPATRICK: Well obviously, there's going to have to be a full investigation, forensic experts from fire investigation, and from the
Building Research Establishment, they're going to have to identify where the fire started, what the cause was, why the spread was so rapid.
And the result probably, the engineering solutions of suppression systems like fire sprinklers could have prevented this fire from taking hold and
would have prevented anybody from dying. I've been through (Inaudible) in Phoenix, Arizona, as the sprinkler fire top of the world, nobody dies in
fires in sprinkler buildings.
We have got the technology to be able to make sure that this kind of event shouldn't have been happening. And -- but it takes money and it takes
political will. These are the questions that the old party group have been asking and pressing for a number of years since lock in house inquiry, and
we will continue to press them and government is going to have to come up with answers.
AMANPOUR: So you know, we have heard that no sprinklers went off and no fire alarms went off. The people just did not hear or you know, they
didn't have the basic minimum there. That's what we've heard from all the residents. How is that possible? This building we also understand had a
ten million pound refurb just in the last year or so.
FITZPATRICK: Indeed. And we've been asking for a review of the building regulations and the way that these buildings should be protected, and the
systems that should be introduced. Alarm systems, sprinkler systems, and modern technology which wasn't available forty years ago, but that was fast
constructed but the refurbishment last year with nearly ten million pounds have been spent, they could have introduced better systems.
There will be question marks about the cladding of the building and whether it contributed to the fire. As to say, these are very scientific,
technical questions and the experts are going to have to conduct the inquiry to answer the public.
And the questions that everyone has, as to why it happened, how it happened, and why so many people have lost their lives as a result of this
fire on the back of the fire from south London in 2009. That should have been our wakeup call, and clearly that hasn't been the case.
AMANPOUR: Well, I tell you know, I'm standing here in front of it, quite a distance. I can turn around and look at it. You can see through it. It
is so gutted, and we don't even know whether it is structurally safe or whether it will continue to be. I want to know from your perspective as a
fireman, what it took for the firefighters to try to get this under control.
They couldn't get up you know as quickly enough as high as they needed to. How difficult is that kind of blaze, even though hundreds of them were
called to the scene?
FITZPATRICK: Sure. It's been a number of cliches in recent weeks after the terror events. But I remember they serve as mortals are running
towards danger when everybody is running away from it, about this and make it any less valid.
When the firefighters turned up this morning, they would have been confronted with massive challenges to tackle the fire, to evacuate the
building, to carry out rescues and they would have done it...
[14:40:00] ...as best they can with the difficult subsistence. (Inaudible), they're going into the building now.
The building obviously is badly damaged, but were some pairs of risk and -- but firefighters and other emergency service workers are still coming in
the building and still making sure that everything that was done -- that could be done was done. And this will go on for some days now.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Fitzpatrick, thank you very much for joining us with your expertise.
FITZPATRICK: You're welcome.
AMANPOUR: So many questions and just the horror of thinking of those people who are trapped at the top and desperately trying to signal for some
kind of rescue. Thank you so much. And of course, this happens amid a period of post election uncertainty, where the government has had to put
off or the Theresa May government has had to put off finalizing a deal to stay in government with the DUP of Northern Ireland.
And today in the last few hours, the leader of this country's Centrist Party, the leader of Democrat has just stepped down. Tim Farron led the
party during the general election and he saw him win twelve seats.
The seats went up in the vote last Thursday. He says his decision to resign is in part because of the media focus on his Christian beliefs,
which obscured his party's liberal message. Farron, who was frequently questioned about his beliefs on homosexuality for instance, said his
answers could have been wiser.
Now, after a break, we return to Washington for more on this morning's shooting there at a practice of the Republican's Congressional baseball
team. But first, we leave you with these images of the heroes of the London fire, the city's first responders. The two hundred firefighters
working tirelessly, many who ran into the burning building, the ambulance service and police to jump to get the residents who went on their own from
apartment to apartment to try to save their neighbors.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program here in west London. I want to bring in our correspondent Nina Dos Santos now. She's at a local community
center just a few blocks from the fire. Nina, the whole community has been pitching in. What are you seeing where you are?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, let me just describe to you the scene. We're outside, Christiane, the Rugby Portobello Center and Trust,
in fact, one of the charities that are trying to help people. As you can see the -- the scene is very deceit, quite frantic. We have got police,
ambulances still trying to get through some of these tight and narrow streets.
And when you speak to people here, who are inside this shelter -- by the way, a number of them have been moved on to bigger shelters to give you an
idea of the scale of this particular disaster. They're often the first thing they say, Christiane, is an information vacuum here, many of them
saying that they've been through a roller coaster over the last ten or twelve hours, trying to find out whether their loved ones are OK.
[14:45:00] One particular family from their retrial was describing how one of -- this mother's children was missing. She was told that she was fine,
then that she wasn't found, and she was among the missing, and then she had been found again but was at a different hospital. So that gives you an
idea of how concerned people are.
So amid all of these kind of chaos, we're also hearing tales of enormous generosity from the local community of different sorts. People have been
coming to the center all day to give donations and toiletries, goods, clothes, baby food, even pet food as well to help the stricken people.
Let me bring in a member of the community is trying to help some of these individuals. (Inaudible), the charity, you've been here on the ground for
a number of hours, haven't you? Just describe to some of the kind of stories that you're hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, this scene right now is just amazing, like the community has come together and really, really provided all that is
needed for the -- for the people who are suffering from this right now. And the thing is, it's just amazing to see that immense tower of food and
water that's been brought for the families, just to give them comfort in this time. And it's just a beautiful. It's just a beautiful image to see.
DOS SANTOS: Let's talk about the fact that also this is a very diverse community. There are a number of people who lived in that building. Some
who may certainly have perished or lost family members who are part of the Muslim community, as well. And we can see sundown is arriving, people will
be ready to break their fast. How are you managing to help them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, right now as I said, the community is coming together and really helping the situation. I mean, right now, as you said,
we've got -- we will be approaching -- it's out time which is the time where we're going to break our fast, and there are lots of provisions that
have been provided for these people, so that they can break their fast in peace.
DOS SANTOS: What about the information vacuum here? That's come up time and time again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, that is a very, very crucial factor that's playing in a lot of family's minds right now. The thing that is really,
really upsetting for them definitely is the fact that they don't know -- they literally don't know what's happening to their family members or what
is happening or where they are.
That's the information gap that's happening right now, and that's -- that's the thing that a lot of the families are still upset about, because they
haven't heard much from the authorities, or any kind of information, just to give them that kind of information to know OK, I know where my family
is. But there's nothing there.
(Inaudible), thank you very much for joining us from the terror scene. Christiane, as you can see, this is still a very confusing situation. The
police are trying to keep order and keep everything as calm as they can. But as you just heard, there are casualty numbers that people can call.
But at the moment, information is pretty scant on the ground. Back to you.
AMANPOUR: As you can imagine, as we all imagine, you know because you're there, these many, many hours afterwards can be the most confusing with
people searching desperately for information above all else.
Nina, thank you and Jean Casarez is with me now, you've been here all morning, all day. I've just been eavesdropping. I heard a fireman say
they have the fire under control. But that doesn't mean to say, you know, they can...
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: They're still working all night. This is what we heard from authorities today. They said this is an extremely
challenging fire, unprecedented where they were in terms of the spread and the scale, and they said, they will be working throughout the night,
because although we're still talking here, a majority of people out there, you can see the fire billowing. And this is still...
AMANPOUR: The smoke.
CASAREZ: The smoke is still billowing from the right side, just over your right shoulder. So it's a huge concern of course for the firefighters, who
was mentioned to our viewers, Christiane, had been inside for more than seventeen hours in extreme heat, temperatures. I mean it's a hot day for
us. Imagine what it would been like for them inside.
AMANPOUR: And so you know even though they sort of signed off on the building was stable, they still don't quite know what might happen in the
next 24 hours.
CASAREZ: Absolutely. They have a structural engineer in to see if it was stable. The sign was yes, it was stable, because of course we have the
London (Inaudible). It's important for the firefighters who were working inside, who had been working throughout the night, more than two hundred
AMANPOUR: And they finally got to the top?
CASAREZ: They finally got to the top. What is still not known is when the fire was at its fiercest, at what level did the fire start and what level
it start, and how far up did they go?
CASAREZ: They would be able to reach because we've heard so many stories of families being told not to leave their apartments and we've had families
with torches by the windows, and children, reaching mothers crying, basically says take my child. So it's absolutely harrowing stories that
we've heard all night. But you know, we're saying, we've also seen a real bliss spirit here.
AMANPOUR: Exactly, I mean, it's amazing how this country has pitched in, in every neighborhood, with all these disasters we've seen over the last
[14:50:00] CASAREZ: And you were there at the last attack at London Bridge where people opened their doors to let others in to save their
lives. That's exactly what we're seeing here today.
AMANPOUR: And I can see community, people coming out so this is going to be uncertain for them for a long time to come. Jean, thank you very much.
Now, we have to return to Washington, where President Trump spoke earlier about today's shooting at a practice of the Republican's congressional
baseball team. The Congressman Steve Scalise was among the five injured.
A hospital person tells CNN that he now in critical condition. Earlier we have said stable. That is what we thought with his condition as reported
by the hospital. But now they're saying he's in critical condition. CNN Shimon Prokupecz is following the investigation and he joins me now from
Washington. Shimon, what more can you tell us either about the congressman's condition or the actual investigation into how this was able
to take place, this shooting?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yeah, you know, Christiane, it's kind of -- you know, there is some luck here in the sense that police were
on scene when the shooting started just after 7:00 A.M. in Alexandria, Virginia, which is just outside of D.C. The congressman's condition I
think just post surgery, was the sort of -- they told us he was in critical condition.
We haven't necessarily heard that his condition has gotten any worse. You know, we all day have heard that he was expected to survive. Though
obviously post surgery, you know, sometimes conditions do change. But everyone is pretty optimistic that he'll survive.
In terms of the gunman here, James Hodgkinson, as you know, he's 66-years- old. Police are able to identify him fairly quickly. And they're now in the process of really trying to figure out, you know, who he was in contact
with, who he was talking to in the days leading up to the shooting.
They've gone back and they've pulled all of his social media postings at his Facebook and his Twitter, and it's really given them a view, a window
into what he was thinking in the days leading up to this shooting, and the months, and the weeks. He is -- according to a law enforcement official,
has anti-Trump views and really, that all bore out in some of his Facebook postings, some of them as recently as last week.
That is now part of the big investigation, motive, intent. He is dead, so we don't expect anyone right now to face any charges in connection with
this. But certainly, if anyone helped him, if anyone was harboring him or maybe even helped him purchase some of the weapons that were used, the
weapon that was used in this case, that person could contempt face charges.
So really, the FBI which is leading this investigation, which is going back, they're now going back in time, trying to figure out where the gunman
was and just place him and try to piece somewhat of a puzzle together, concerning you know, his whereabouts and what he was really up to in the
days coming into the shooting.
AMANPOUR: Shimon, thank you so much for that update. It's truly awful story that we understand, could have been much, much worse had it not been
for the Capitol police on the scene. When we come back, I'll speak to the London Fire Brigade deputy assistant commissioner about the deadly fire
that took place just behind me. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. And we've just managed to talk to Wayne Brown, he is the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the London Fire
[14:55:00] And you and your people have been fighting this all day. Is it under control?
WAYNE BROWN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, LONDON FIRE BRIGADE: Yeah, I can confirm the fire is under control. We'll continue here over the next
24, 48 hours minimum. That will be making sure that all the hot spots and any small pockets of fire that remain in the building are extinguished, as
well as obviously starting and continuing the investigation into how this fire started, as well as how it spread.
AMANPOUR: You have no idea at this moment?
BROWN: At this moment in time, I can't confirm how the fire started. We have over see spoken to various members of the public that came out toward
in it's early stages. What we need to do is collect that information to make sure to all see that fact towards far of our investigation.
AMANPOUR: Have you been to all the floors all the way to the top?
BROWN: Yes, our firefighters have been all the way to the top of the building. Mostly, there are certain parts of the building that have
sustained substantial fire damage, and we haven't been able to forego into every compartment. So we have searched every floor in the building.
AMANPOUR: Are there any fatalities, casualty there still?
BROWN: As I said, we have had fatalities here today.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, we're told twelve.
BROWN: Yeah, AT this moment in time, that's the number I can confirm. We have had twelve fatalities today. We're not sure whether that number will
might still rise. We are still searching the remaining floors within the building, and as part of that, we will, as soon as we know, confirm an
actual number of the people that has died here tragedy today.
AMANPOUR: Your commissioner said that she's never seen anything like this in twenty-nine years of being on the -- on the Brigade. Have you?
BROWN: Likewise. I've been here twenty-five years. I've never seen a fire with that intensity spread so quickly throughout a building of this
size. It is unprecedented with the commissioner said this morning. It's been extremely challenging for our staff and our condolences go out to
anybody that's been affected by this incident here today.
AMANPOUR: Deputy Commissioner Wayne Brown, thank you so much for joining us.
BROWN: Pleasure, thank you.
AMANPOUR: And that ends our program for tonight. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from here in west London.