FD lacked direct communication with private EMS, organizers at Astroworld

According to Houston's FF union president, officials had asked for radios to contact private EMS but were only provided cellphone numbers


By Kerri Hatt

HOUSTON — Firefighters stationed outside NRG Park in Houston were not in radio communication with the EMS providers hired by Astroworld organizers when the festival turned deadly, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña told CNN.

Patrick M. "Marty" Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, told CNN the fire department officials on standby had asked the concert organizers for a radio to communicate with ParaDocs, the private emergency medical providers, but were only provided with cellphone numbers.

People gather to remember those who died at the fatal Astroworld festival in Houston.
People gather to remember those who died at the fatal Astroworld festival in Houston. (AP Photo/Robert Bumsted)

"We were in direct communications with the Houston Police Department, and we were in communications with the Harris County Emergency Corps, which was providing some of the transport units for that event," Peña told CNN, but noted the department was not in direct communication with event organizers during the concert.

As the crowd surged, creating an MCI, the fire department deployed resources into the crowd, eventually transporting 12 critical victims, in many cases with CPR in progress.

Three people remain hospitalized Tuesday, including two in critical condition and a 9-year-old boy in a medically induced coma.

Scott maintains did not know the extent of the emergency during his performance. Footage from the live stream shows Scott pausing his performance as an ambulance attempts to make its way through the crowd.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner released all permits filed with the city for the Festival on Tuesday, which revealed numerous transgressions in a festival lot, including destroying property and various acts of violence.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Scott pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Arkansas after police say he encouraged people to rush the stage at a 2017 show. Misdemeanor charges including inciting a riot were dismissed.

Peña told CNN, "If the lights would have been turned on – [if] the promoter or the artist called for that – it would have chilled the crowd, and who knows? Who knows what the outcome would have been? But everybody in that venue, starting from the artist on down, has a responsibility for public safety, I believe.”


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Read the latest on the deadly Astroworld festival

Eight people were killed and hundreds were wounded at the Astroworld music festival in Houston when the crowd surged toward the stage during a performance by rapper Travis Scott.


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