tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC July 15, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
triple digit heat is expected until tomorrow. >> "nightly news" is next. we'll be back at 6:00. so if you can join us. on this saturday night, high-rise horror. three people are dead, many injured after a fire burned through the upper floors of a honolulu condominium building, and like so many older structure across the country, there were no sprinklers to stop it. trapped on the tracks. an suv dragged 100 yards by a train. the dramatic police body cam footage showing the desperate rescue of two people trapped inside. change of course. the president is calling the russia scandal a hoax, as the white house brings in a new attorney to deal with a special investigation. and schoolhouse, homeless children getting a better shot at tomorrow, thanks to a year-round refuge. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with
jose diaz belart. >> good evening. it was a five-alarm fire in a tropical paradise. a 36-story condo on the beach in honolulu became a towering inferno that claimed three lives and injured a dozen others. more than 100 firefighters rushed in to fight the blaze and save residents trapped in their apartments on the upper floors. while the source is being investigated tonight, fire officials say the lack of automatic sprinklers meant a blaze that could have been contained in one apartment, spread quickly. it highlights the dangers in buildings in every town and city across the country that don't have this life-saving equipment. our morgan radford brings us the very latest. >> reporter: tonight, new details on the victims of the high-rise fire. britt reller, a 54-year inflight manager at hawaiian airlines and 85-year-old mother melba dilley amongst the dead.
the fire shocking residents of the 36-story beachside building. >> i smelled something burning, and i looked over my left shoulder, and i saw black billowing smoke. >> reporter: shrieks of terror coming from the 26th floor where the fire started. the three killed by the fire found there, at least a dozen more injured as the flames spread upward, engulfing three floors. >> oh my god, that's nuts. >> i looked down, i could see the billowing smoke coming up. i heard three women's voices screaming, pleading, moaning, "please help me." >> reporter: more than 60 firefighters raced into the building, scrambling from room to room trying to rescue those trapped in the blaze. the building was built in 1971, before sprinklers were required. >> without a doubt, if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin. >> reporter: sprinklers, experts say, can mean the difference between life and death. >> sprinklers are very important in stopping the spread of fire. >> reporter: is this a wake-up call? >> it should be, but everybody's interested
in fire safety, until they find out the cost. >> reporter: each year, an average of 40 people die and 520 are injured in high-rise building fires. almost 60% of those fires happen in buildings without automatic sprinklers. just one month ago, a london high-rise burst into flames, leaving at least 80 people dead. residents complained for years about the lack of sprinklers. >> just can't believe the way it spread. it's just unbelievable. >> reporter: in pittsburgh, one woman dead and dozens left homeless, after a high-rise apartment built in 1907 caught on fire in may. no sprinkler system installed. and in the same honolulu high-rise, three previous fires, all within the last seven years. national building codes have required sprinklers in large public buildings since the 1970s and the 1980s, but see, those rules only applied to
older high-rises, if they're enforced locally. so if you live in a handful of states like florida or right here in new york, high-rise owners are required to go back and put sprinklers in existing buildings. jose? >> morgan radford, thank you so very much. now to astonishing new video, body cam footage of a train dragging an suv along the tracks, with it, two people trapped inside. steve patterson has the terrifying story. >> all right. >> reporter: police body cam video capturing a frantic rescue in the middle of the night. >> sir, can you hear me? >> reporter: an suv pinned under a cargo train in la marque, texas. >> 35, got at least one inside, trapped. >> reporter: inside, a man and woman are injured and trapped. the camera attached to veteran officer andrew best. >> you can get to the unlock button? >> reporter: the video shows several attempts to break in, slamming his baton into the window. >> that's what i was talking about.
>> reporter: eventually the glass shatters. >> i know, i know, hold on, buddy, we got medics coming. >> reporter: but then a terrifying sound. >> medics on the way. what the -- tell them to stop! stop the train! >> reporter: for several heart-pounding seconds the train drags the suv 100 yards. >> when it started moving, it was just how are we going to get this thing to stop? >> stop! >> reporter: best radios for backup, trying to get a message to the conductor. >> 35, calling in, railroad company, tell them to stop moving. they're dragging this car, with people inside. >> reporter: finally, the train stops. firefighters free the driver and passenger. police say the driver is in serious condition, but the passenger's injuries are not life-threatening.
officials are investigating the crash, saying the flashing lights and crossing barricades were functioning, and that the train was stationary when it was struck by the suv. police say alcohol may have been a factor. >> i'm just more proud of the other people on my shift, i trained a big portion of my shift and i was just real, real happy with the fact that they knew what to do. >> reporter: a harrowing rescue, thanks to the quick-thinking of first responders, not wasting a second, to save lives. steve patterson, nbc news. that enormous sink hole in central florida we showed you yesterday, the one that swallowed two homes appears to have stopped growing. it's now 50 feet deep, 225 feet wide. the good news, four of the nine families who were evacuated when the hole opened are now able to return home. an important milestone for the struggling nation of venezuela tomorrow. there have been more than 100 days of bloody and deadly protests amidst increasing government repression. this video of government forces beating a man it occurred in lecheria went viral, after being tweeted by an opposition activist with millions of views.
tomorrow, to 8 million people could cast ballots in a symbolic opposition-led referendum. the choices to support or reject socialist president nicolas maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution. there are polling places around the country and in cities around the world. an update now to a story we told you about two weeks ago. for years, the german government refused to compensate the 1,000 or so survivors of a brutal holocaust massacre in romania. thousands of jews were shot, stabbed, often in public, or put on overcrowded trains where many died. well now an agreement has been reached to give the survivors a pension, and some home care services. but for those of them still alive, it's so much more than just about money. >> i want to take this privilege of thanking all the people that contributed to that. after so many years, justice is done. to politics now, where president trump is once again
attacking what he is calling the russia hoax story, that while the white house and republican senators scramble to put together a passable health care bill. that story from my colleague kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: today the president as spectator-in-chief. promoting the family business by attending the women's u.s. open, held at his bedminster golf resort. however relaxed the president may appear, he is trying to change course, first playing down one crisis with his dismissal label referring to the russia hoax story in a tweet about the stock market rally while making official his hiring of a new lawyer inside the white house, naming wash wash veteran ty cobb as the president's special counsel to handle the russia investigation internally. while on tv, one of
the president's personal lawyers defends him. >> the president has stated very clearly that he was not aware of the meeting and did not attend the meeting and that has been undisputed. no one has disputed that, so he was not aware of it, did not attend it. >> reporter: and changing course on health care. the president is now playing a short game, using his twitter feed, promising to save americans from the obamacare disaster, and his weekly address. >> we are very, very close to ending this health care nightmare. we are so close. >> reporter: today in iowa, trump adviser kellyanne conway spoke to christian conservatives about the political test to repeal obamacare. >> also just keeping a campaign promise, it's a moral imperative. it's a moral imperative to help those the obamacare victims. >> reporter: but senate republicans are wavering, concerned about the impact of medicaid in their states and the cost burden on hospitals to care for the uninsured. >> when you're looking at dramatic change, it's most important to get it right, and i think the senate is trying to do that. >> reporter: managing the changes state by state will be left to governors, who are meeting this weekend in rhode island, getting briefed on the senate bill. >> i think all of us are scrambling to say, before we make a final conclusion on it, where is it actually going to be, and is it going to satisfy the
needs of this state and satisfy the needs of this state? >> reporter: with the president and vice president making calls trying to keep the pressure on their party, and supporters, the risk of failure is high. there's no wiggle room. two republican senators are already publicly a no. that means the remaining 50 must be united in order to get a health care bill across the finish line. jose? >> kelly o'donnell thank you. by the way a high profile line foup why are "meet the press tomorrow." the top democrat on the intelligence committee, virginia senator mark warner, a member of president trump's legal team jay sekulow and republican whip john cornyn. to an unusual emergency in nevada. state officials are scrambling to prevent a marijuana shortage, just two weeks after legal recreational pot sales began. the stakes are high because the state budget is counting on millions of dollars in anticipated tax
revenue from marijuana sales. as nbc's gabe gutierrez reports the biggest challenge is not the supply, rather it's the distribution. >> reporter: tonight in nevada, the pot pipeline's back up and running slowly. some dispensaries restocking their shelves after what was shaping up to a distribution disaster. >> all of these bins were filled. >> reporter: when nevada kicked off legal recreational marijuana sales this month, shops like las vegas releaf could barely keep up with demand, edibles especially flying off shelves. >> it has been insane actually. it's been more than we have anticipated. >> reporter: growing it wasn't the problem. there's plenty of wholesale weed. the trouble was moving it to dispensaries. unlike the four other states with legal recreational pot, nevada regulators require alcohol distributors to
transport the drug, but none was licensed when sales began. >> because we passed the law so fast or implemented it so fast we didn't have a distributor up and running and it's a long story, but -- >> reporter: or a cannabis conundrum. nevada's department of taxation issued a statement of emergency, warning the industry could grind to a halt, putting an expected $60 million in tax revenue over the next two years in jeopardy. >> that revenue is in the budget, and we need to make sure that the processes are in place to get it in. >> reporter: this week, state officials met to try and hash out a solution. they passed emergency regulations to expand who can apply for distribution licenses. two alcohol wholesalers have already been approved, though some dispensaries worry that's still not enough. >> we have 40-plus dispensaries in town that are in the same position that we're in, and so from a business perspective, obviously it's not a good place to be, when you don't have the product to sell to customers. >> reporter: call it growing pains, in a budding industry, as sin city goes to pot. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, las vegas. it is summer.
it is grill season, and you've heard the phrase before, where's the beef? and if you've ever bitten into a veggie burger, you may have asked that as well. well, science is truly an incredible thing. the quest to engineer a juicier, meat-like veggie alternative at your barbecue may soon be complete. it's called the impossible burger. here's jo ling kent. >> reporter: the idea has been around for decades, replace that juicy burger with something a bit healthier. veggie patties with a mix of beans and mushrooms, meant to replace the beef patty but never to replicate it and that's about to change, thanks to startup impossible foods, which is using science to create a 100% vegetable-based burger that tastes and bleeds like the real thing. looks like blood. >> yes. >> reporter: but it's not. >> it's entirely from yeast, purified protein.
>> reporter: it's really salty. that's definitely the weirdest thing i've ever tasted but it's really, you feel that flavor come to life. founder and biochemist pat brown and his team took to the lab to develop the secret ingredient, called heme. >> we're designing our product from the ground up which means that we can control the flavor, the nutrition and so forth in a way a cow can't. >> reporter: the focus, tackle the rising demand for meat and the impact of its production on the environment. >> right now, the burger that you ate compared to the same thing from a cow uses 1/20th of the land to produce. so you've reduced your greenhouse gas footprint of that burger by more than 80%. >> reporter: the global consumption of meat has shot up 21% over the past two decades, to 68 million tons a year. >> how do you solve that problem? you basically say okay, let them eat meat but we'll figure out a better way to make it. >> reporter: cockscomb is one of more than 30 restaurants serving up impossible meat. you are the meat guy. why are you serving a meat-like burger?
>> i think there needs to be an option in the world for people who don't always want to eat meat. >> reporter: those bits of fat are little nubs of coconut oil, zero cholesterol. how does this impossible burger cook different than a meat burger? >> it doesn't. that's the secret. >> reporter: disrupting the cow for the future of food. jo ling kent, nbc news, san francisco. and still ahead this saturday night, a school serving as a year-round refuge for homeless kids. we'll introduce you to the folks giving these children a shot at a better tomorrow. and then wait until you see how one flower company is making a huge impact on a group of young people.
going to school can be hard enough when you're a kid, but for students who are homeless it can be so much tougher. one school is hoping to change that, giving hope and help to students and their families. nbc's maya rodriguez introduces us to a place in oklahoma city trying to tackle a nationwide problem. >> reporter: it's summer, a time when most kids kick back and relax. but for some, school is a year-round refuge. >> we provide a safe, secure place for children to come to school. >> reporter: positive tomorrows, a school in oklahoma city, caters exclusively to the needs of homeless children. >> what is that? >> a toucan. >> caller: from pre-k to fifth grade, the private, non-profit school doesn't just focus on the students and academics, but on the whole family, too, like the begays, who
lived at a shelter. >> they're guiding us, and they were just emotional support for them. >> reporter: case workers know that long-term success means finding a way out of homelessness. reticia begay was able to enroll four of her children at positive tomorrows. academics melded with extracurricular activities, and the kids got even more. >> they helped with stuff that you really need. >> i got my school supplies. >> reporter: special help in a small school setting, just 74 students on the rolls. it's a small number, when you consider that more than 5,000 students in oklahoma city are considered homeless, and it's not just a problem there. nationwide there are an estimated 1.3 million homeless students. >> they're expanding. >> reporter: ashley peters attended positive tomorrows when she was 10. she graduated from college, became a police officer for ten
years, and now works in ministry. >> they planted a seed, and it wasn't until, you know, 20 years later that you're able to see something that has grown. >> reporter: and the begays want to see that, too. they just moved into an apartment. this fall, the kids will transition back to regular public schools. >> they brought hope to the kids. >> reporter: making room for new students and giving them a shot at a better tomorrow. maya rodriguez, nbc news, oklahoma city. when we come back, wait until you hear this one. an olympic athlete's suspension overturned thanks to a surprising defense.
they're already calling it the kissing defense, american olympic gold medalist gil roberts was allowed to compete at the track and field outdoor championships recently, after being cleared of any wrongdoing. his suspension for a failed drug test was reversed by an arbitrator. why? because roberts argued the drug was in his system thanks to a three-hour marathon makeout session with his girlfriend, who was taking medicine for a sinus infection. were you watching this morning an emotional defeat for venus williams in the wimbledon finals. she is 37. she would have become the oldest women's grand slam winner in more than 100 years. instead, the new champion is someone who grew up watching williams play -- spain's garbine muguruza, 23 years old, proved to be too much, winning in
professional life growing and selling flowers and learning life skills along the way, but it's what they have in common that makes this story truly astounding. here's ann thompson. >> reporter: roses are among nature's most beautiful creations. in this connecticut greenhouse, they cultivate not just the flowers, but people, too, teaching teenagers and adults with autism workplace skills. >> just cut it and you slide it. >> reporter: 22-year-old lee owens is in his third year at roses for autism. >> i got two jobs. >> reporter: what he learns here helps him earn a paycheck at a local cafe. joey becker has an eye for arranging. tell me about this arrangement. >> well, the arrangement has six peach flowers. >> reporter: uh-huh. they are among 100 interns who have helped run the business since 2009, selling roses in person and online. now adding a perfume and jewelry to its offerings, that justin amos is learning to photograph for the website.
>> justin, you can change the exposure. >> learning how to work as a team, show up to work on time, be dependable, responsible, understand the social cues, that's what's going to help them maintain the job. >> reporter: at any time there are 14 interns, between 16 and 30 years old, when they age out of school services. so does this program act like a bridge in some ways? >> it does. we are part of the bridge from school to adult employment life. >> reporter: a life that depends on knowing the soft skills of the workplace that can be challenging for people with autism. like the office party. >> it's a reward for me. >> reporter: saying good-bye to joey. the interns have moved on to jobs in recycling, food services, and the arts, planting the seeds for their careers by growing roses. ann thompson, nbc news, guilford, connecticut. and that's "nbc nightly news" for this saturday. tomorrow, be sure to
tune in as kate snow looks at the quest to get kids talking earlier, combining old-fashioned conversation with high-tech data. i'm jose diaz belart reporting from new york. thank you for the privilege of your time. good night. ==terry/take vo== right now at six. a south bay police department, news. to right now at 6:00, a south bay police department forced to evacuate because of a dangerous delivery. i )m terry mcsweeney. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening everyone i'mter yes mcsweeney peggy burning hags the night off. a box led to the evacuation of
the entire department. turns out the department contained explosives. nbc bay area marianne favro live in sunnyvale with new developments. marry yaen. >> not only was the entire department evacuated by 911 dispatch had to be transferred to a different office because of this. but tonight things are back to normal. however, around 11:30 this morning things were far from normal when two people brought in a box of items found in their parents' garage. they brought the box up to the counter turns out that box contained three world war ii era rocket proposal hand grenades. that's when the items were put in the lobby and the entire building evacuated. 911 dispatch services were also transferred to the santa clara county communications office for several hours. th we also called santa clara