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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 15, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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we need to co-anchor from there. >> yeah. and i'm thinking live weather every singling night out there. >> at least for the first season for sure. >> thanks for joining us. on our broadcast tonight, out of control, another outbreak across southern california, funnel clouds of fire exploding in neighborhoods. tonight the desperate effort to save the homes that haven't been consumed. demanding answers about the growing scandal at the va. the man in charge faces criticism before congress and then faces our pentagon correspondent on the way out. the price you pay in a housing market so hot in some places, a lot of buyers are getting shutout unless they pay cash. >> amazing grace, an incredible moment from today's sole beer dedication from america's new's museum. "nightly news" begins now. >> from nbc news world
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headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. for the second straight night, it looks like a bombing campaign underway across southern california. conditions so hot and dry, if some fires don't get hit from the air, they won't go out and because of the winds, the intensity of the flames, we've seen one of the true freaks of nature in the san diego area. funnel clouds of pure flames from the ground skyward. the santa anna winds, which unlike our weather across the country blow from east to west can clearly be seen from space blowing the smoke from these fires out over the pacific ocean. so many homes burned, so much land scorched. it's a full on battle especially in the area around san diego. our coverage of the fires begins with joe fryer in carlsbad, california. joe, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. 22 families are without a home tonight in carlsbad including those at this house behind me.
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now the number one priority is a fire just to the east in san marcos where thousands more were evacuated. today we saw the battle up close. this is what danger sounds like, crackling and hissing as flames crawl across the san marcos hillside whipped up by unseasonably warm santa anna winding spawning tornados. phil has only a garden hose to keep the flames back, but it will take so much more. fire crews are using an air attack to attack the san marcos fire which continues to grow and threaten homes. soon a fence is all that stands between the flames and the colony of apartments, but a final barrage from the sky does the job. the departments are safe for now. then moments later in a different location, a million dollar mansion goes up in flames. >> it's day three, it's a better
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day than day one and two but we're not out of the woods yet. >> reporter: last night three homes in san marcos did not survive. thousands have been evacuated, including the entire cal state san marcos campus. >> i went to turn in books and it was on fire. >> reporter: this weekend's graduation is cancelled. nine wildfires prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency. it's too early to say if any were started intentionally. >> we do a thorough investigation of the fire and try to find the origin. >> reporter: in carlsbad, four homes were destroyed, plus a complex that housed 18 condos. bob ingersoll thought his home was next with flames just feet away, but the firefighters won the battle. >> they didn't stop the fire here, it easily went into these houses and we would have lost this whole neighborhood. >> reporter: another close call in a fire fight where a few feet can make all the difference. joe fryer, san marcos, california.
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>> i'm miguel almaguer in san diego county over the fire fight, with at least nine wildfires burning today. crews are spread across 14 square miles doing all they can to beat back the flames to beat this fire down. this is the cocoa fire burning in san marcos, it's the number one priority blaze and you can see why there is so much dry vegetation and drought-stricken land. this fire can really explode any second. this plume of smoke is now coming in our direction shooting about 8,000 feet into the air. crews and air attack are chris crossing this county doing what they can to suppress the fire but mother nature is in control, even at this altitude we can smell the smoke and feel the heat. the intensity of this fire is incredible.
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if there has been any good news for firefighters, this blaze is burning next to a major reservoir. we saw helicopters dipping into the water and making drops minutes later. what makes it unique from so many others is where it is burning. there are huge plumes of smoke right next to neighborhoods. this fire is poised to make runs into communities if firefighters can't keep those flames back. >> reporter: tonight the city of san marcos looks and feels like a war zone because it is one. the weather drops have been hammering this neighborhood all day long. flames leaping 100 feet into the air and still threatening homes in our position. last night overnight there were 45 water drops. we expect that number to shoot up dramatically tonight. brian? >> miguel back on the ground in san marcos and in charles bad joe fryer before that starting off the coverage. we have word reach us overnight of a different problem in the l.a. area near glendale.
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crews are cleaning up 10,000 gallons of crude oil half a mile in length when a pipeline burst sending it spews into the air. the oil was knee-deep in one area. businesses had to be evacuated and environmental cleaning company has been contracted to sop up the remaining crude and clean the streets with high pressure hoses. he's a four-star army general that faced hostile enemy fire in his lifetime. today, however, it was hostile questions from congress for eric shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs. his cabinet department is dealing with deep trouble, a scandal having to do with how we treat our returning veterans and what appears to have been preventable deaths at this nation's va hospitals. we get more on this tonight from our pentagon correspondent
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covering it all on capitol hill this evening. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. secretary shinseki said he has no intention of resigning but political pressure is building here for serious changes at the va. as a former army general, this is not exactly eric shinseki's idea of taking the hill. shinseki appeared before the senate veterans affair committee to take the heat over the growing scandal at va hospitals. >> any adverse incident like this makes me as -- makes me mad as hell. >> reporter: it's alleged va hospitals in at least eight states were hiding veterans appointments on secret lists to improve hospital records on wait times, but shinseki played down the scope of the scandal. >> are people quote unquote cooking the books? >> i'm not aware, other than a number of isolated cases where there is evidence of that. >> reporter: it's reported that 40 veterans may have died while
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waiting for medical care. so far, the va inspector general investigated 17. >> i know 17, we didn't conclude so far that the delay caused the deaths. >> reporter: democrats and republicans alike raise serious doubts about va efforts to crack down on misconduct. >> this needs to be a wakeup call for the department. >> no one should be treated this way in a country as great as ours. >> reporter: shinseki stood his ground. >> we only have one mission, that's taking care of these veterans and not these veterans, i'm one of them. >> reporter: but his harshest critics claim shinseki has been missing in action. >> he's almost entirely visible and the only time we hear from him is when someone calls for his resignation. >> what do you say when people say you abandoned them. have you failed these veterans? >> i took this job not to fail veterans.
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i came to make things better for them. >> reporter: they say talk is cheap. >> talk isn't cheap where i'm concerned. >> reporter: the white house is now involved in attempting to manage the scandal, ordering deputy chief of staff rob neighbors to assist in the va's review of hospital operations. shinseki today prommed senators at least one quick turnaround, saying the results of the va's review could be ready within three weeks, brian. >> jim miklaszewskimiklaszewski covering this all day on capitol hill with us, jim thanks. a massive bomb blast has been captured on video in syria where rebels set off a tunnel loaded with 60 tons of explosives. they had reportedly been working on this for months, 2800 feet worth of digging, enough explosives in there to make the earth heave into the sky. there was a syrian army base on that land, all of it blown sky high. no casualty figures immediately available. in turkey today, more heart
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break as another nine victims were recovered after that country's worst mining disaster. the government places the death toll at a 283 with at least 140 people still trapped unaccounted for in that coal mine. here in new york, an emotional day in lower manhattan as president obama dedicated the national september 11th memorial museum, almost 13 years after the attacks that changed this country. after getting a private tour of the exhibits, the president called it a place for all americans alive today and generations yet to be born to learn the story of those lost and those who tried to save them. our national correspondent kate snow was there. ♪ >> reporter: with the museum itself, the dedication ceremony took us back to relive that day and remember it.
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>> mark, this is your mom, apparently there are terrorists attack that crashed the aircraft. >> reporter: it honors 3,000 people lost in pennsylvania, the pentagon and twin towers. 13 years of debates about what this sacred space should look like, feel like, the officials simply told stories. >> some of the injured huddled in the wreckage of the 78th floor and then there came a a voice, clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs. >> reporter: the president spoke about their son, wells. >> he carried a red bandanna everywhere? >> always. >> reporter: they didn't know where he came from, but they knew their lives were saved by the man in the red bandanna. >> wells escorted two groups out. >> he went back up? >> he went back up the stairs. >> reporter: the tower collapsed minutes later. a red bandanna and his junior
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firefighter are on display. >> i went to the company and said i would like to have his dress uniform. >> reporter: simple, personal items were among the most power of theful of the exhibits. the shoes florence jones took off to walk 77 flights of stairs. >> i wanted my nieces and my nephew and every person that asked what happened to see them and maybe understand a little bit better what it felt like to be us on that day. >> reporter: for the next five days, the museum will be open 24 hours a day for first responders, survivors and family members. the crowthers brought their daughters and grandchildren to the museum today. 9-year-old wells is named-her
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uncle. >> you can be happy, he did wonderful things and saved so many people. >> reporter: for so many americans, it will be a difficult place to visit but an inspirational one. >> they created a place where the world can come to understand what went on that day. we have to understand as human beings, that this is no way for us to interact with each other. >> reporter: the museum opens to the public next wednesday and the hope is that every american and people from all over the world will visit and learn something about loss and resilience. >> always going to be tough. as we said, visitors need to be prepared. >> yeah. >> kate snow, thank you for that report. >> we'll take a break here, still ahead, important news about the u.s. economy and the housing market. why so many families who can afford it are finding it nearly impossible to win these bidding wars that are breaking out and later, the new way to ask for help in an emergency starting today.
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we have learned in the first quarter of 2014, nearly 40% of all home sales in america were transacted entirely in cash. 40%, and that's leaving even a lot of well-qualified buyers out of luck without the home they wanted because they are losing out in these bidding wars that are breaking out. we get our report on this tonight from nbc's gabe gutierrez in atlanta. >> come on in. this house is 2,164 square feet. >> reporter: over the past year, carl and stephanie have been desperately searching for their first home. >> this would be mommy's room. >> it's been a long year. >> reporter: the young couple and two toddlers looked at about 40 homes and made offers on about 13, but so far no luck. >> we were shocked. >> it's gotten to the point where even when you put in an offer, they are saying cash only. >> reporter: new data shows a record 43% of home seams this year have been all cash deals, even more in some cities like atlanta, new york and las vegas, where more than half of buyers pay 100% cash. in miami, two out of every three
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homes are being sold without financing. the reason? tougher lending standards, higher interest rates, and there is now more demand than supply. >> the first-time homebuyers getting priced out because they don't have the cash to scrape together to purchase homes. >> reporter: take this atlanta three bedroom home listed at $80,000. it sold for more than $43,000 more in cash. retirees like steve and carrie andrews say their cash offers set them apart. they are downsizing and buying a fixer-upper in cash. in this market, it's empty nesters versus young families competing for the same property. >> it's very frustrating to the point where we've almost given up. >> reporter: and those without cash up front will lose out. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, atlanta. we are back in a moment with the end of an era for a big part of american life since jfk was in the white house.
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she's interviewed everybody, she's asked every question imaginable and some we could never imagine and now they tell us barbara walters is retiring, and you can't blame any of us for not really believing it. on the "view today" they got the past hosts together and there was a big shin dig for barbara here in new york last night. she was here at nbc, of course, for 15 years. we've always claimed her as our own. she's 84 and on a pace to out live us all. "the new york times" made front page news on its own front page. the executive editor of the newspaper for the last three years was dismissed yesterday and the paper's managing editor dean has been appointed to the top job.
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abramson was the first on the job and he's the first african american to lead the paper. general motors launched another massive recall, this time another 2.7 million vehicles following the 2.6 million recalled because of ignition switches. a slew of brands from corvette to malibus to cadillacs. the company is moving fast on one very serious recall, some owners of now 2015 pickups and chevy tahoes were notified today by overnight mail their trucks need to be hauled into dealers and not driven to fix a potential steering failure. something new started today designed to help people in an emergency. it's texting 911 and while it won't yet be available in all areas and from all wireless providers, it should be by the end of the year. it's believed texting 911 could help in situations where it's dangerous to make a call like a hostage situation or when people feel they have an a intruder in the home and need to be silent.
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a voice call to 911 will always be preferable. we put information on our website it has become a popular brand of sleeping pill and now the fda is lowering the starting dosage of lunesta. some users had problems with driving and memory and coordination the morning after taking the pill. the starting dose is currently 2 milligrams and going down to 1. the fda did the same thing with ambien last year. when we come back, a stirring tribute. a command performance at the 9/11 memorial museum and for her how it was so deeply personal.
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finally tonight, a moment of amazing grace today dedication ceremony by a woman who was called in at the last minute to perform after another broadway star got sick.
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even for a tony award-winning actress, this was no easy task. quite the contrary, because she has her own connection to 9/11 and the sacred ground beneath that ceremony today. ♪ amazing grace >> my name is lesean and i'm the widow of calvin joseph gooding who was lost in 9/11. we have two beautiful daughters. calvin lived life. he's a beautiful spirit. i loved him from the moment i saw him. my oldest daughter, who is the most sensitive to the loss of her father being in the museum today was a bit overwhelming for her. my other daughter, the one who wasn't even born yet, she's much more curious. i ask zyia my youngest to find her father. when she sees him, there he is, mom, i want to take a picture of my dad.
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this is a girl trying to connect with the father she never got to meet. ♪ like me >> today, singing this song, it was sort of an affirmation for me because there was a period in my life throughout these many years where i felt not sure how to go and struggling with my own insecurities. that line i once was lost but now i'm found, was blind but now i see, it really resonated with me. so yes, "amazing grace" is definitely what i have right now. ♪ blind but now i see >> after a brave and extraordinarily performance today.
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that is our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. >> i feel violated. i just feel exposed. hurt. helpless. >> an nbc bay area teacher humiliated. why she's putting the blame on her students who say the game went too far. >> a well-known private school on the pe nirns ninsula is unde tonight. the head of sarah high school in san mateo admits some students
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were taking video of teachers up their skirts. nbc bay area joins us this evening with the exclusive details. jodi? >> reporter: it is a scandal that has rocked everyone here. the school says some students used dhar ed their cell phones some serious damage. while it all came to light last year, tonight, one victim is speaking out and firing back. >> i feel violated. i just feel exz posed. hurt. helpless. >> reporter: that's how high school biology teacher kimberly bonnert says she's been left to feel after learning that some students at san mateo's all boys' catholic school violated her private by taking up skirt cell phone videos of her private