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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Interview With Staten Island Fire Witness Dave Kendrick

Aired February 21, 2003 - 11:29   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have with us on the phone again someone we talked with earlier, Leon, and that is Dave Kendrick, who I believe is an officer. Dave Kendrick -- but actually, you were an eyewitness, but also aren't you with one of the local police departments there?
DAVE KENDRICK, WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP POLICE: Yes, Daryn.

KAGAN: And tell us again, because I think we talked to you about an hour ago what you saw at the time, or what you felt at the time of the explosion.

KENDRICK: Well, I was home. I was actually cooking breakfast. And all of a sudden, heard the explosion and the house shook, and went to the window and saw the smoke plume starting to rise up.

KAGAN: And Dave, from what we are able to see from our pictures, it does look like things have dissipated quite a bit. What about what you are able to see from your home?

KENDRICK: Yes, pretty much I'm getting the same thing here. The dark black plume that was rising directly up into the air has really turned to a light gray, and it's pretty much dissipating.

KAGAN: And you are also giving us a sense of where it is from where your house is.

KENDRICK: Well, the helicopters are overhead, if that's any indication.

KAGAN: So you are pretty darn close.

KENDRICK: Yes. We're about three -- about three miles away as the crow flies.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Dave, Leon Harris here once again. We're watching some pictures there that we had from moments -- from earlier this morning when the fire was fully engaged. But if we can go back to the shot that we had here before, I wanted to ask you -- the officer this. Officer, you've seen lots of barge traffic here on the waterway?

KENDRICK: Oh, yes. It is a very busy waterway.

HARRIS: Well, I am wondering, can you identify this structure that we are seeing right now? Does this look like the remnants of a barge to you? KENDRICK: Actually, what I have seen earlier was what looked like a building, and there also appeared to be a barge that was -- some parts were submerged in the water.

HARRIS: That's the part I was wondering about, the part that seemed to be in the water. We were trying to figure out whether or not -- we've been hearing reports that it was believed that a barge may have somehow, some way caught fire in the process of either taking on something or off loading something. And there it is, that structure there in the water. It's hard for those of us who aren't initiated and aren't used to living on the water to tell whether or not that is a barge. But did that look like a barge to you?

KENDRICK: That's what it looks like from the TV.

HARRIS: That would somewhat clear that up, and it would also underscore exactly how dangerous that situation may have been for anybody who was working on board one of those things.

KENDRICK: I don't think I would have wanted to have been on board.

HARRIS: And as a matter of fact, we have been hearing -- now, we have heard through other sources that there may be some fatalities. Now, we know that you've got the police radio there in the house, and since we last talked to you, have you been listening? Have you heard anything to confirm that?

KENDRICK: We're on the Jersey side, so we're not getting any kind of traffic that would pertain to that at all here.

HARRIS: So you didn't hear anything at all about this incident?

KENDRICK: No, no -- there's a lot -- there's a lot on the radio about the incident, but nothing about the direct -- anybody getting hurt or anything like that.

HARRIS: Can you tell us anything based upon what you heard on radio? Can you give us any idea about where fire fighters think they are right with controlling this situation?

KENDRICK: Once again, all our fire fighting people who responded were all -- we're on the other side of the waterway. So, stricken over here. But they're just monitoring it from this side.

HARRIS: I am sorry, I am just trying to get you to be a spy for us, that is all. Whatever you're able to pick up is going to help us out.

KENDRICK: I know we had evacuations over here along the waterfront, and they closed down -- there is a couple parks that are on the waterway, also. But as far as anything that is going on over in Staten Island, as far as injuries and stuff, we wouldn't have any radio traffic on that.

HARRIS: Did you happen to observe that evacuation process? Did you see anybody being hustled out?

KENDRICK: No, that's actually probably about maybe half a mile from where I'm at.

HARRIS: OK. And are you going to stay where you're at? You are not going to leave?

KENDRICK: I'll be right here.

HARRIS: All right. Well, we're glad you were there, and able to give us some perspective and help us out through this.

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