tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC August 31, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
bright line there -- >> bloomberg's caleb melby, a series of opinion questions thrown at you and you've very professionally swatted every one of them away. if jared kushner were a tree, caleb, what type of tree would he be? well, i'm a reporter but thanks for asking. that does it for thus morning. stephanie ruhle picks up our coverage. >> thank you, joe. clearly caleb knows the bloomberg way. i'm stephanie ruhle, thrilled to be back you. start do you think in texas where all eyes are on a chemical plant in flood-ravaged area. at this hour, if it is not happening yet, it could. this chemical plant could be exploding and catching fire. >> materials could now explode. the high water and the lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it. >> serious business. a major fuel pipeline shuts down as gas prices are on the rise
and an hour of emergency rescues from the sky, thousands now saved from rising waters p. >> we were so happy, like god has answered our prayers. >> and the president's speech short on details, long on promises. president trump starting a tax reform ball rolling in missouri and makes it clear who he's going to blame if it doesn't go through. >> i don't want to be disappointed by congress. do you understand me? >> we begin with the catastrophic devastations of harvey down in texas. far, far down in southern texas where we are talking about scores of dramatic rescues taking place amid fierce flooding and a new threat with explosions at a chemical plant just outside houston. here's the latest. texas authorities say 28 people have died including a houston family of six whose van was swept away in the floodwaters. more than 32,000 people remain
in shelters. nearly 210,000 people have registered with fema for assistance. in the meantime, the military says two navy ships and nearly 700 marines are being sent to the region to help. those are american heroes. and there is breaking news just outside of houston in the nearby town of crosby. the threat of explosions at a chemical plant ravaged by those floodwaters. we have an incredible team of reporters covering the latest developments across the region. i want to take you first crosby, texas, where nbc's jacob rascon stands by. walk us through what is happening because some people there have been hospitalized just from the fumes from this chemical plant. >> reporter: we're about 30 miles from houston. several days ago i thai evacuated an area around the plant just in case because there's chemicals kept
refrigerated. they knew and expected something might happen and evacuated people. early this morninging what they thought might happen did happen. chemicals that got too warm because they lost their rempbl ration combined. they don't want to call it an explosion now they said, but you look at the helicopter shot and psych that the container that was holding these chem kals looks almost gone and there's black spots everywhere. and initially, they said it was shooting up flames 30 to 40 feet in the air. and so you have that in one of the containers. and now you have other container where is they expect the same thing to happen. so the hope the sheriff says is that all of this is contained in the facility itself, that nobody that lives around there is affected, that the plant, the chemical company says that the chemicals should not be toxic. and what we have just in the last hour was deputies that went to the hospital because they were worried about it. they inhaled some of the smoke. at the hospitals so far they've
checked out. they're okay. so there are a lot of unknowns here because even the fema director when he was asked about it said, yeah, that plume is really dangerous, but then the chemical company said no, it's okay, it's not toxic, it will be fine, and the sheriff saying well, there will be more reactions, small explosions, flames shooting in the air andwy hope it's contained in the facility. we know there's going to be a press conference in a half hour. we hope to get more answers to all of these unknowns, stephanie. >> jacob rascon, please stay safe. this chemical plant, it's not a matter of if, it's when it will catch fire and explode. wishing you safe thoughts, jacob. in houston, residents not just with rain but with the swollen reservoirs and dams. garrett haake is near barker reservoir where mandatory evacuations are in effect for several neighborhoods as this dam is overflowing. garrett, walk us through the scene here. 25,000 people have already been rescued in texas and we've still
got mandatory evacuations. >> reporter: i expect that 25,000 number will be incredibly low. that doesn't count people going in kayaks to scoop up their neighbors. that's what happened in cinco ranch when it became part of the buffalo bayou about block and a half away. most of the folks have evacuated or rescued subsequently, but like so many other pool in so many other neighborhoods i've talked to in last day and a half, they came back in the last day or two to check back on their homes or the in some cases to stay and then folks in this neighborhood woke up this morning with an e-mail, a phone call or in some cases a pounding on the door telling them they were once again under a mandatory evacuation order because of those overflowing reservoirs, the barker and addicks reservoirs, both backed up by dams, have taken in so much water than they can possibly hold.
all that water is supposed to end up in the bayou off to my left and then ultimately wash back out into the gulf of mexico. but none of this infrastructure was designed for anything close to this much water when it was built in the 1940s. the good news a short time ago, flood officials said the water levels in the barker came down a little overnight. that will aleve yit some of the fears that the water levels alock the bayou could continue to buy, but cold comfort for folks who have water up to their doorknobs and in some cases higher in this neighborhood and ones like t in the next few blocks down further into the evacuation area. stephanie? >> it is stunning. when you look at those sunny, bright skies you think maybe the worst is over and still these people are being evacuated because dams are overflowing. now to nbc's kerry sanders in ne ni niederland, texas, near beaumont.
some people still trapped in flooded waters. how bad is it? >> reporter: the good news is the waters are receding. the u.s. marine corps has some amphibious units that will be down here around noon. as a result of what we talked about at the top of the broadcast with that possible chemical fire, some of the helicopter operations that were in the area have been restricted in part because of concerns, even though there's some distan between here because of the atsz ets so the aircrafts actually having to be diverted to that general area. so folks who are in the beaumont area, those that needed to be rescued yesterday with life-threatening situations were taken out. the elderly were pulled out, the very young were pulled out. some people opted to stay and as garrett mentioned there were so many people in flat bottom boats going through, too, and pulling people out. where i am right now in nied niederland, is what becomes the next part of the story as the waters recede. as you can see, i'm standing here and this is somebody's house that's been moved outside. take a look at our other camera
in front of the house here. as you look in front of the house, you can see the garbage that is beginning to pile up. that is really the story that will develop here. as a from time to time of reference, after hurricane an tr andrew 25 years ago, it is estimated in one night developed about ten years worth of garbage. so this home here, we're in the odom home, this home was hit by waters that came rushing in. the family was inside. we're going to take you through some of the stuff they've already pulled out. it's outside. as we come around the corner here, remarkably they do have electricity back so, the family has returned. joe odom is the home owner. he's a victim like so many. first of all, joe, how are you doing? >> i'm doing fine. >> so when you look at this, how much water did you have in your house? >> i think we had about eight or nine inches. >> reporter: so it's a mess. >> a wreck. >> reporter: a wreck as you say. you ear not the only person who
has to talk to insurancened get money. i can tell you it smells in here. what are your thoughts the process that goes on from here? >> only thing i got to d is get this carpet out of here before mold sets in and it's just a whole bunch of things. and i don't know. dealing with the insurance company, let me tell you, i went through this a year ago with windstorm. believe me, you i don't want to deal with them people. >> reporter: there's a lot of people who will have to deal with what you're going to deal with. >> we of already filed a claim, got our claim number and all that. just wait for somebody to come out and look at this junk we have out there on the pornl because it's all gone. i don't think we have a piece of furniture in this house that's not damaged. >> and you are remarkably 79 years old, because you look great. tell me about the strength it takes to go through this. >> i can't tell -- to be honest, i's just day by day thing. ruth and i, we'll live.
we'll get through this. this is nothing compared to what a lot of people are going through. hell, we never lost life. we never lost water. we never lost our air conditioning. i lost my carpet. >> you lost a lot of stuff many your house too. >> pump station by now because it was in the ditch. >> you saw alligators here. thank you very much, joe. i know the odom family has to g through what so many are going through at various different levels. he's remarkably saying, look, i had nine inches, people had eight feet. but it tells the picture. i was noticing here, joe told me he just had this floor put in here and it's already buckling and coming up. the long-term hassle of what comes next just that, a hassle. and it can take a lot out of people. i guess one of the biggest things that people need to worry about here is to keep their cool. in victoria, the police were telling us that about three days in they already were responding to fights in gas lines and a
shooting where somebody was not three times all they believe driven by the anxiety and anger which is ultimately the pressure put on them by the aftermath dealing currently with the amount of rain, flood, and everything else, stephanie. >> think about this for a moment. joe and ruth opening up their home and he's pretty optimistic saying we got eight or nine inches. exactly to your point, the anger, the anxiety in the aftermath of cleaning this up, the area that you're in today, it took you all day to get there. i know you were trying to get in yesterday. what are the surrounding areas like? >> reporter: okay. so we came from victoria and we came over to beaumont. normally, that would be a 2 1/2, three-hour drive. it took us 10 1/2 hours. we came through watt they're in some cases was basically hip level for me. we went down roads that we couldn't get through and had to turn around and pass. there was a group, just a huge number of folks with airboats
being pulled by their pickup trucks to try to get in. they finally made it in too to help with the rescues. and then you had the air operations here. we had the u.s. customs and border protection, which had their three helicopters up flying doing rescues. you had the coast guard here. you had the texas air national guard here. and so it was a bevy of active i as we were flying over looking down, there were some people, quite frankly, who were so infirm that it was too much to put them on the basket and bring them up into the chopper. they decided to get those boats that were coming in. again, these are volunteers, get those boats to pull the people out. other pool, one gentleman came up, he was paralitz sod he was paralyzed in a previous accident. the water was at some points above his waist and his fends we friends were caring for him, so when the marine and air operations from border patrol got in there, they were able to lower down, get a basket to
bring him up. the food news is it appears, hard to say because the water sometimes takes time, but it appears that the water levels are beginning to drop. >> well, that's a positive. i saw you last night in that helicopter rescuing that mother and her young son. i can not imagine the heroic efforts of that team you were with. extraordinary. please be safe. try to stay dry down there. an update from nbc meteorologist bill karins. we see what it's like today. please, what is it going to be like tomorrow for those hard-hit areas, beaumont, houston? >> every morning weg wake up to something, right? like the chemical plant or beaumont or port arthur, the day before that in houston and -- every morning zmoosh dams breaking. >> one shot after another. we'd just like a nice quiet day where we can talk about water levels coming down, it's sunny and it's nice. there is a chance we'll be talking this time tomorrow morning about what happened today in arias of tennessee because harvey is on the move now about to cross the border
between louisiana and southern arkansas and mississippi. already very heavy rain developing between little rock and memphis. this is hill country. this isn't the flatter rain like in houston. this will quickly gather into the valleys and rush down to little streams. we're concerned with flashflooding in this region. one flashflood warning to the west of memphis in areas of arkansas heading up into areas just below the boot here and heading towards the ozarks. again, flashflood warning still continues for beaumont and port arth arthur. the rest of today we still think we have the potential at least for another 3 to 7 inches of rain. this is from memphis to jackson, tennessee. most of this will be tonight so if we have really bad li life-threatening flooding and cars getting floolded out and evacuations, it would be in western tennessee. it's not 50 inches of rain we had in the gulf, but when that water runs down those hills and collectings it builds up in a hurry. that's why we have a high risk of flashflooding in this region from memphis to jackson, to dyersburg, to paris.
that's the area of greatest concern. not a lot of other problems out on the map but in the atlantic we're tracking tropical storm irma. this is starting to show signs of becoming a hurricane. this would be the next storm we have to talk about that we have to wonder where it's going to g. it's still at least 7 to 10 day ace way from coming anywhere near the u.s. so we have time to d -- worry about that in the future. also hurricane center says a 20% chance, stephanie, of something forming in the western gulf in the next five days and some of that moisture could go fourth the north. itted to show you the path of irma. one place for politics, right, a lot of government people that watch. my advice to anyone who works with fema or knows people with fema, they are swamped with one of our flooding disasters we of had in our country, this storm in about receive on the ten days -- >> irma. >> -- could be somewhere near the u.s. coastline. we don't know for sure. no one knows for sure preponderance but they need to now start preparing just in
case, in about 10, 12 days for another hurricane. that's what they should be doing because that's what they have do. they prepare for the worst. we don't want to be caught off guard in case irma is a serious storm. fema officials not getting labor day off. thanks so much. nex, it's a team effort. the owner of the houston astros joins me to talk about how he and other local business leaders are helping the millions affected by hurricane harvey. four seconds on the clock, down by one. championship on the line. erin "the sharpshooter" shanahan fakes left. she's outside of the key, she shoots... ...she scores! uh... yes, erin, it is great time to score a deal. we need to make room for the 2018 models. relive the thrill of beating the clock. the volkswagen model year end event. hurry in for a $1,500 in available bonuses and 0% apr for 60 months on a new 2017 jetta or passat. can make anyone slow downt and pull up a seat to the table. that's why she takes the time to season her turkey to perfection,
and make stuffing from scratch. so that you can spend time on what really matters. marie callender's. it's time to savor. whyou're not thinking clearly, so they called the fire department for us. i could hear crackling in the walls. my mind went totally blank. all i remember saying was, "my boyfriend's beating me" and she took it from there. and all of this occurred in four minutes or less. i am grateful we all made it out safely. people you don't know care about you. it's kind of one of those things where you can't even thank somebody. to protect what you love, call 1-800-adt-cares i am totally blind. and non-24 can make me show up too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424. you myour joints...thing for your heart...
welcome back. you're watching msnbc. i'm stephanie ruhle. to get a sense of the outpouring of support for houston in the aftermath of hurricane harvey, check out this photo. it has gone viral. a houston-based radio host tweeted it saying, "this is houston. wanna know what this line is for? food? water? housing? nope. these people are waiting in line to volunteer." those people are great americans. these acts of kindness add to the growing list of companies and celebrities donating millions of dollars to relief frts and people just like you and me, every dollar counts. corporate donations so far total more than $66.5 million and includes a $4 million pledge by the houston astros. join megaby phone, jim crane, owner of the astros. jim, first, i want to apologize to you. houston, your city, clearly under duress. what has it been like for you to watch your beloved city?
>> well, it's a huge disaster. you guys are covering it well on tv. i'm not in town and can't get in town. won't probably be able to get back in -- i think the airport is open today around noon, but the reports i'm get are just terrible. and, you know, the outpouring of everyone wanting to help has been amazing so far and i think you've only seen the tip of the iceberg. >> i want to talk tact relationship between sports teams and the city theys oar in. they're dependent on one another for tax breaks, for those great stadiums and tallas revenue those teams bring to the cities. what should the pro sports teams in houston besides what the astros are doing do and other businesses? >> well, all the teams have stepped up, major teams in houston have stepped up to donate. i think, you know, we've soon a situation where we couldn't play three home games this week and we're over in tampa, but it looks like we'll be able to play and have announced we'll play a double header against the mets on saturday.
and that was really at the request of the mayor. we couldn't determine if it was easy to get in, but we realized we could get the team in, probably don't have a lot of people coming to the game or thinking about baseball at this time, which is not that important when you consider what's been going on, but the mayor said, jim, we've got to get the games on, we've got to get people back in the swing. right next to us is brown convention center, 10,000. we'll give away a lot of free tickets and try to get people a little relaxed and their mind off really the tragedy that's happening now and just relax for a few minutes. he wanted the games on. we said we'd get them on for him and he wants to get the city back to normal as fast as possible. >> without a doubt, america's favorite pastime is needed after the tragedy houston has gone through. you mentioned some free tickets. this weekend, a double header, you'll be playing the mets so that's new york team who i may or may not be rooting for, but there are a lot of heros in houston right now.
there are some great americans who are out there rescuing vick tips every day. do you think we'll see them in the stands and maybe some of those people who lost their homes? >> well, we've told the mayor we want to distribute the tickets as he see fits, the first responder, the people who haven't had a break all week. it's been going on since last friday and even before then. we'll do everything we can to make it a fun day, get people a little relaxed and then everyone will get refocused on cleaning up the city and it's a big mess. let's just say, you guys have covered it very well. we need to get it back on track. >> all right. well, with corporate leaders like you no doubt you will. jim, thank you so much and good tl luck this weekend. >> thank you very much. here's how you can help. numbers you can text to donate to red cross and the salvation army. find out all this information and more on our website, nbcnews.com/harvey.
we talk so much about celebrity who is don't do 34u67, i want to thank sandra bullock, j.j. watt, ellen degeneres to name a few giving millions of dollars. yesterday jeffries gave all their commission dollars in new york to houston relief, a cool $5 million. we have to keep giving. these people need our help. still ahead, the president talks tax reform. well, we don't know about specific bus the president hinted it would target the wealthy. do we actually believe him? is it going to happen? this was the president's opportunity to talk cutting taxes and creating job, something everybody wants, but somehow it seemed like a rally speech. where's gary? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico. goin' up the country.
later, gary' i have a motorcycle! wonderful. ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle, great rates for great rides. you don't let anything lkeep you sidelined. come on! that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein, and 26 vitamins and minerals... for the strength and energy, to get back to doing what you love. ensure, always be you. i enjoy the fresher things in life. fresh towels. fresh soaps. and of course, tripadvisor's freshest, lowest prices. so if you're anything like me... ...you'll want to check tripadvisor. we now instantly compare prices from over 200 booking sites... ...to find you the lowest price... ...on the hotel you want. go on, try something fresh.
welcome back. time for your "morning primer," everything you need to know to start your day. we begin with president trump's response to hurricane harvey. less than an hour ago, vice president mike pence left for corpus christi, texas. he and several cabinet members will visit victims and i ssz the damage, something the president did not do on his visit. houston mayor silvester turner is i plauding a federal judge's decision to temporarily block most of texas' new sanctuary cities law. it would allow police to ask people about immigration status
during routine interactions such as traffic stops. the south korean military says the u.s. flew bombers and fighter jets over south korea overnight in response to north korea's latest ballistic missile launch over japan on tuesday. and the pentagon says there are actually about 11,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan rather than 8,400 which was reported in july. the figure was adjusted to reflect troops who are on temporary missions in the country. it is part of an effort by defense secretary james mattis to be more transparent. we appreciate that. finally, this one's wow for me. the united nations human rights chief is raising new concerns over president trump's attacks on media outlets. the high commissioner for human rights says trump's krit as muches could incite violence and have potential dangerous consequences outside the united states. now we have to talk taxes. president trump is back in d.c. after delivering a speech on taxes yesterday in missouri. he gave very few details on tax reform plan but trump hinted it would hit the nation's top
earners. >> speaking against myself when i do this, i have to tell you, and i might be speaking against mr. cook and we're both okay with it. is that right? it's crazy. we're speaking -- maybe we should .doing this, you know? >> it is crazy because the tax reform plan is not long on details. we don't know if it's actually going the hurt high earners or if it would hurt president trump. we've nvr soon his taxes. my panel, tim o'brien, bloomberg news executive editor and msnbc contributor and also the author of "trump nation." he might know about trump's taxes. robert trainor, msnbc analyst and former bush/cheney senior adviser. and ben white, cnbc contributor. ben, we'll start with you. we don't know much about this plan but based on what we know what did president trump deliver us yesterday? because, listen, across the board all americans want jobs and they want their taxes
lowered. if you actually look at what he delivered it was the campaign rally speech attacking trade, going after claire mccaskill. he didn't need to d that. >>, no he didn't. let's talk about what we know about the tax plan right now which is not a lot. what he talked about specifically was taking the corporate rate from 35% to 15%. >> most corporations don't pay 35%. >> exactly, which gets to the larger point of how you do tax reform versus tax cuts. but paint the backdrop. corporate profits, very high, stock market, very high. most polls s show that american think they pay too much tax, and he wants to do it in a populist way that cut ts tacs taxes for middle-income folks but he didn't give specifics on that. it's not clear he's in a great political position to sell a tax cut for corporation and do that in a populist way.
as an average american, you dent know what you're getting out of it. >> something president trump said during the convention and a little from what he said yesterday. >> i alone can fix it. i am asking every member of congress. i'm calling on all members of congress. i'm calling on congress. i don't want to be disappointed by congress. do you understand me? >> i don't want to be disappointed by congress. i thought it was i and i alone. is the president setting the stage to blame congress a la health care? or is he realizing this thing has to go to ways and means before anything else and he's trying to get them to work? >> i don't think the president understands that obviously any tax writing legislation needs to come from the house ways and means committee. i'm not sure he's into those details. we know that because of the basic questions he's asking. >> isn't it stunning? he doesn't know. we say that every day. >> the details -- >> that shouldn't be stunning anymore. nevertheless, i think he's right. this is a populist president
that will pit himself against the congress if in fact the congress does not deliver on what he wants. >> that works for him. >> of course. let's be honest about this. tax reform is really hard. the last time we did this was back in 1986. as i understand it, there's 4 million words in the tax code is extremely difficult. one could make the argument though that politically when you have a speaker ryan, when off mitch mcconnell, the opportune time now is for tax reform, but i'm not sure it will happen. i do think there will be a tax cut. to your original question, stephanie, the president is going to run against washington, d.c., and he's going to say i'm an outsider come 2018 or 202. >> that argument is working. a different politico story because this one is amazing. special counsel robert mueller working with new york attorney general eric sh miderman on his investigation into paul manafort, who has not been accused or found guilty of anything. we have to say that. the article says the two teams talking frequently about a potential case, collecting
evidence on financial crimes including money laundering. tim, you know this business, you know these guys. max boot put out a piece on twitter earlier saying wait until trump finds out he can't pardon manafort if it's a state issue. >> i'm sure he already knows that and i'm sure he read that -- i think it was telegraphed strongly last night. i think the issue now for trump and the surface of the arpaio pardon, people wondering if he was pardoned as a demonstration to others in the trump camp if push comes to shove the president will save you from robert mueller's ugly claws. robert mueller is responding that's fine and good, i'll partner with the state attorney general who is in a jurisdiction the president can't pardon you in. you know, i think the other thing going on, particularly with manafort, is i think manafort is a wounded antelope in this. i've never really felt his transactions or the things he did drekdly would -- >> paul manafort is a wounded
antelope? >> absolutely and the prosecutors are going at the back of the pack like a herd of lions and picking off the stragglers and move up the food chain. e vmpventually i think hoping t target people in the oval office pip think manafort's transactions, it's clear they're thinking about money laundering in this case but none of it yet directly implicates the president. there's other players tin this who would be i think dicier for the president. what we're seeing is very early moves in what will be a very long investigation and possible prosecution. and we'll have to wait that out. >> if we're talking money laundering and if you have don junior in the mix and michael cohen, who's been the president's person forever, jared kushner, the financing -- factitis 666 fifth avenue, you can't make that up. is it fair to say, well, it's not touching trump yet? this seems to be getting hotter and hotter.
>> it would never touch trump until the end of it as was pointed out by tim. you build these cases from somebody like a manafort, a wounded antelope in this model we of constructed, and you basically make the case to him, look, there is no escape for you. you can't get a pardon from the state charge here. you'll have to deal with us, tell us what you know exactly about dealings between the trump campaign and russian interests. and so, you know, you read this article, you're paul manafort and you realize, look, there may not be pardon for me in this so i better start talking to these guys and tell them what i know. >> they of raided his house. >> drug dealer style. >> well, one could make the argument that muler is doing this brilliantly. he is totally laying down a very solid foundation so that whatever earthquake may come would not rat that will whatsoever. >> lawrence tribe said this morning robert mueller is playing four-dimensional chess while president trump is learning baby check rs. we have to go live to
crosby, texas, where a press conference is taking place covering that chemical plant. let's take you there now. >> yes, sir. >> good morning. i'm ed gonzalez, harris county sheriff. earlier this week we were informed by arkema company officials hay had lost the ability to refrigerate the organic peroxides they used to manufacture plastic materials. as a result, we have been expecting these chemicals to eventually catch fire. this is why we helped coordinate an evacuation of all residents within a 1 1/2-mile radius. that fire happened around midnight. our deputies encountered smoke and complained of rels pra toir irritation. one was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance and 14 drove thms toemselves to be evaluated. 13 of the deputies have been released and the other two are still being checked out. arkema company officials and the harris county fire marshals office have said exposure to
smoke from these peroxides is similar to standing over burning campfi campfire. we believe the smoke is a nontoxic irritant. the fire marshal's office plan from the beginning was to allow for the fire to burn itself out. firefighters are taking a defensive posture to prevent it from spreading. next we'll hear from assistant chief roy chief roil from the harris county fire mar charlottes office and then officials from arkema will provide a statement as well. >> thank you, sheriff. my name is bob royal, royall. the harris county hazmat team is part of my command. a statement i'd like to share with you is that earlier this week at approximately 2:00 a.m. on tuesday morning the county eoc, which was in full operation at level one, received a call for a water rescue at the arkema
plant. the crosby fire department initiated that rescue. the next morning or later this morning somewhere after daylight and remember it to be somewhere around 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., the members that were work do you think at the eo contraction had a conference call with arkema corporate offices and think asked for a complete evacuation of the plant. shortly after that, an hour or so later, department of homeland security infrastructure protection contacted myself and chief reed with the harris county fire marshal's office and others. we had an extensive conference call and talked about what was going on out at arkema. since that time, we developed a plan with the crosby fire department who is the incident commander on this incident.
and we decided that we would invoke a safety zone around the plant which has been done. we established that isolation perimeter at 1.5-mile radius. after we established that evacuation zone, the crosby fire department, local law enforcement, and other agencies that are working the flooding event here in harris county went door to door and evacuated all those that were close to the plant that would leave. since that time, we have been in defensive posture, holding a perimeter around the facility to make sure that our citizens are safe and that our environment is protected to best we can. this morning as expected, for all of the research that was done by myself and others, we found out that we had one of the box vans that there was a
chemical decomposition, chemical reaction that resulted in a fire at that location. there were a number of small containers inside the box van that did rupture. we heard some popping noise coming from that area, then gray smoke, and then followed by fire. excuse me. it is my understanding that three of the -- this is one of three of the containers that they had lost refrigeration on and so we can expect similar type of decomposition in those other trailers, maybe even all nine of them, before it's over with. so, so far what has happened is exactly what we expected to happen. we're still in defensive posture. we're holding our perimeter, our law enforcement partners are holding that perimeter, and at this time, sheriff, if you want to take any questions. >> real quick, i'm just going to say in spanish our part of it.
>> you have been listening to the harris county, texas, sheriff, and the assistant fire chief with the latest on the chemical plant threat. the area has been evacuated and firefighters are in defensive positions ready to stop the spread of any fire that could break out. still ahead -- we're going to dip right back in. >> any specific questions about -- for us? [ inaudible question ] >> i'll let the fire marshal speak to that ander chem ma can speak to their terms. >> sir tox answer your question, we're on the same page. it's a matter of term noll. i call it a chemical reaction
and overpressure of the container. you ale have to ask arkema about their explanation as far as expenalty boxes go. that's not my business. my business is protecting the citizens and our environment. >> that makes it sound like you're not coordinating. rez didn'ts asked me if morning if you're talking to each other. >> sir, we are coordinating. we've had conference calls two times a day since this started. wy of had our law enforcement partners, us in there and our industrial lieley yay son from the county. you'll have to ask those specific questions about arkema's and terminology statement to them. i'm just telling you what we are doing and what we are involved in in our approach. >> chief, obviously, being in the business you are, there are big explosions in life and small expenalty boxes. go back to chemistry class and could have one right in front of you on the table. to watch you sort of parse your
words and sort of set off, no pun intended, people in the area, who are like what is this guy doing, right? so it's an explosion but i don't understand why you guys are sort of so picky with words. was it a small explogs? when you look at the aerial view, you see the fire burning and the damage there's been done. it's clearitis more than just a reaction. >> you mus not have heard me say the containers ruptured. a small pop or sound of a popping sound. i don't want the people to think that these are massive explosions. we're trying to make sure that our citizens are comfortable in what's going on that they know the truth, and so with that, these are small container ruptures that may have a sound, excuse me, may have a sound of a pop or something of that nature. this is not a massive explosion. >> small explogs. >> that's what you call it. i'm going to call it a container rupture.
[ inaudible question ] pardon me? [ inaudible question ] you'll need to ask the company that question, ma'am. [ inaudible question ] >> when it's safe. once we determine as public safety officialsitis safe for them to return, we will make sure that metsage is conveyed to our citizens. >> what was the size of the fire? >> it was part of an 18-wheeler box van truck. part of it. [ inaudible question ] we had an overflight this morning. we have not been back so i don't have an update. >> just one part of one truck? >> a portion of one truck so far, yes, ma'am. >> -- described two railroad cars. >> a railroad car -- depend tong size of trucks, a railroad car holds a lot more than a truck. isle just kind of give you an inference, if you will, a tank car is equivalent to depending
on size of the tank trucks 10 or 11 or 12 tank trucks. so depend tong size of the tank truck. these are not -- these are not railcars. these are not tank cars. there are some that are on the railroad that are two miles away that have nothing do with this. they belong to a different facility. >> do you expect to be able to get in there, chief, at some point? how high is the water right now and do you think there may be an opportunity to get in there and sort of do some work and contain future ruptures? >> right now the water is still up in the plant. we do not know exactly how deep because we have this evacuation perimeter around it. that will be a determination by the plant, by arkema, if they're going to g in and try to do anything. that's not my decision. >> what do you know about the chemicals that have been released that potentially could be released? what are the potential health effects for your residents?
>> what i know from doing research is these things are going to catch on fire. they're going the burn with intensity. most of the material is going to be consumed by very hot fire. okay. from what i have researched and understand is that the by-products of that is going to be a black smoke with carbon particles in it. okay? as far as liquid flowing from there -- >> put that in simpler terms, though. what does it mean for people's health? >> what does it mean for peems health? you don't want to stand in smoke, do you? the sheriff saysitis like a campfire. there's hydrocarbons moving. >> no more dangerous than a campfire? >> i did not say it, sir. >> people's hlt. >> right. you dent want to inhale smoke. that's plain and simple. so it's smoke. with carbon particles in it. >> that's it. >> that's what i have been -- what i have researched and that's what i have discussed
with -- [ inaudible question ] >> ma'am, they are going the speak next. they have provided us documentation about the materials and i'm looking at it from a public safety standpoint. >> all right. one more question for chief royall and then i need to take him. >> from a safety standpoint, why was people sent home -- >> ma'am, i haven't talked to the congressman and so i'm not going to comment on that because i haven't talked to him. so i don't know whether, you know -- [ inaudible question ] i am comfortable with a mile and a half exclusion zone because that is actually longer than whatever us and -- us, i'm
talking me, and the law enforcement officials set down. it could have been a mile would have been adequate. but the streets the way they're laid out, it gave us an opportunity to make are laid out gave us an opportunity to make it a mile and a half, for extra safety facto factor. >> do we know how close? >> about a mile and a half. >> officials from arkema step up and offer the further explanatio explanation. >> my name is rich rennard from arkema. i'm the president. sure it's richard rennard, r-e-n-n-a-r-d. >> can't hear you. can you speak up, please? >> sure. i'm the president of our acrylic monimers business, another one of the business divisions in the company. as you might imagine with all of the unprecedented flooding that
we've had, it's been difficult to get people from around the country organized here to deal with the issue that we're facing. it's all hands on deck and i'm here to help share key messages with the community and make sure everybody understands what's going on with our site. first, in terms of the question that was raised about our coordination and cooperation with the local authorities, the emergency response teams and first responders have been doing heroic work to help us protect the local community and the resident residents. we want to thank, certainly, the harris county fire marshals office, harris county sheriff's office, fema, the department of homeland security. they've all been doing outstanding work and we've been cooperating intimately with them to deal with the incident. next i would like to point out
that obviously with hurricane harvey making land did ls fall, this was an unprecedented storm. our team on sight took effort to protect the integrity of the products involved. i'll get into more detail in that shortly. the materials involved are what we produce there are liquid organic peroxides. this is a chemical facility. we produce chemical peroxides and other chemicals stored on si site. those products are safely stored and there's no issue with those as well as a broader area of the site is not involved and what the concern is is the cold temperature products, these
materials have to be maintained cold. if they start to warm up, they become unstable and will decompose. they generate heat when they decompose. when they decompose there's the generate heat, which can cause fire and explosion. one of those containers has been involved and the product in that container has started to degrade. we fully expect that the other eight containers will do the same thing. at this point we believe the safest thing to do is allow those other products to degrade and burn. excuse me. just a few more remarks and then i'll be happy to take some
questions. certainly on behalf of all the employees at arkeman i want to apologize for the impact on the community. safety of those in the area is our primary objective. with that, i'm happy to take some questions. maybe one at a time. sorr sorry. >> the material is stored in these containers and there are pressure relief valves on these containers. when pleasure builds up in the container to a certain point that exceeds the pressure of that valve, that valve releases and it makes a popping sound. our understanding is that's the sound that we've heard. certainly these things can burn
quickly and violently and it would not be unusual for them to explode. what we believe we've heard -- understand, we're a mile and a half away from the facility. we're not -- we don't have anybody on site that's watching what's happening. we believe that it just hasn't been a massive explosion, it's just been a vapor relief valves that popped. >> are you saying there's potential for something more than just popping and fire? >> we certainly anticipate -- it's hard to predict if there will be an explosion but certainly these things burn when they degrade and there is a possibility that an explosion could happen. >> why did arkema not flush the chemicals? why did you rely on cooling to mitigate this potential problem? >> the materials are required to be kept cold. i don't know that there's any chemical way of keeping that from happening. >> i talked to two experts yesterday at texas a & m and somebody at uh who said it's
standard operating procedure at facilities like this to neutralize a chemical. why did arkema not have the chemical? >> i can't comment on that. i don't know the chemistry you're describing. pardon? [ inaudible question ] >> yes, we do. >> please describe the extraordinary measures. [ inaudible ] >> understand. so on friday, before the storm hit we started taking measures to shut down our plant. it was safely shut down and we put in place multiple layers of protection to try to provide refrigeration for the materials that needed to be kept in storage. >> can you describe those? >> absolutely. our power supply was our primary layer of protection. when the storm hit we lost our primary power. we brought in emergency generators to provide backup
power, to provide refrigeration to those products. as the floodwaters rose, those generators were compromised and we lost the use of those generators because of the floodwaters. we had a third system in place, liquid nitrogen system on site to provide refrigeration to these storage containers because of the floodwaters some of the equipment nt necessary to operate that system was also compromised and our fourth layer of protection was the refrigerated storage containers. we moved all the product into these containers which is where they are now. >> are you anticipating more explosionors pops or whatever you call it? >> yes. we're anticipating the remaining eight containers that have not yet started to have product degrade in them, for that to start to happen.
>> at least three of the eight are not cooling? >> my understanding, gentlemen, we've lost refrigeration capability in eight of the nine. >> eight of the nine? >> yes. >> organic products you worry about? >> i'm not sure about the exact distance but the containers themselves are in a remote area of the plant. we don't anticipate any other buildings or equipment on site to be affected. >> so we can have an idea how far away that is to the public? we're relying on you to say it's far way. >> i think that's something that -- >> excuse me. >> two questions. was there not enough time to get these trucks out of the way? >> no. we felt the best place to keep this material based on the nature of the product was in the plant. we have experts and people that
know this chemistry, that know the products. we had the equipment, we felt like, based on what we would have anticipated happening in the storm. we certainly didn't want to bring these out on to the roads with hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated and having a trailer stuck on a highway somewhere with numerous people around. we felt the safest place to keep the containers and protect the citizens in the area was to keep the product on site. >> are you willing to rae lease a list of all the chemicals? >> we can share the information about what other chemicals we have on site. >> what are the health risks? >> what we have is a fire. >> talk into the microphones. >> i'm trying to speak to the individual asking the question. sorry. >> nobody can hear you if you don't speak in the microphone. >> the question is, what is the health risk?
what we have going on, it's not a chemical release that's happening. i want to be clear about that. what we have is a fire. when you have a fire, these -- what we have going on is not a chemical release that's happening. i want to be clear about that. this is not a chemical release. what we have is a fire where these chemicals are burning, incomplete combustion and smoke and any smoke will be an irritant to your eyes, lungs, potentially your skin. if you are exposed to that, we are encouraging anyone who is exposed to the smoke coming from this fire to call their doctor and seek medical advi