'This is when it all got real': Houston Fire Dept. logs show Astroworld Festival chaos in real-time

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Friday, November 12, 2021
'When it all got real,' HFD logs show real-time Astroworld Fest chaos
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Real-time logs written by Houston firefighters as the Astroworld Festival fell into chaos detail the loss of control, and at times dangerous conditions, at the festival.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Minute-by-minute logs written by Houston firefighters as the Astroworld Festival fell into chaos detail for hours the loss of control, and at times dangerous conditions, at the festival.

The logs, obtained Thursday by 13 Investigates, were written by the Houston Fire Department, who took detailed notes as they listened to active radio calls as early as 6:50 a.m. Friday, more than 15 hours before rapper Travis Scott was set to perform.

13 Investigates obtained those handwritten activity log entries written by personnel inside HFD's Incident Command. The log got more chaotic as the day went on, from a lieutenant requesting "riot equipment" at 8:15 a.m. to damaged fences and later reports of an "individual with crush injury/difficulty breathing" at 9:18 p.m.

The Houston Police Department is investigating what happened at the concert that left nine people dead and hundreds more injured. HPD Chief Troy Finner said this week that he doesn't want to get into the timeline of events since it is still under investigation.

RELATED: 13 Investigates looks at warning signs leading up to Astroworld Festival tragedy

The city documents 13 Investigates obtained reveal the first detailed look at how and when law enforcement and first responders reacted before and during the concert.

The logs indicate event organizers and security lost control of the crowd before the gates even opened at 10 a.m. It also shows a lack of control throughout the day as 3,000 to 5,000 concert-goers bypassed security checkpoints, and two to five people climbed on the roof of an annex.

At 4:54 p.m., the logs show "HPD reports of dangerous crowd conditions" at one of the stages.

Despite hours of chaos that day, for at least one official, it wasn't until 9:28 p.m. - after Scott took the stage - when there was a major shift

"This is when it all got real," the HFD official wrote.

Two minutes later, the Houston Police Department reported "multiple people trampled, passed out at front of stage," while "security is remaining to rear of stage."

Scroll through the interactive timeline below for a detailed look at HFD's real-time response before and during Astroworld On mobile device? Click here for a full screen experience.

It was around that time that HPD commanders told Astroworld leadership to shut down the event, HPD Chief Tory Finner said this week.

But for nearly 40 minutes, the performance continued.

During that time, there were five calls to 911 about "unconscious persons" as well as "multiple persons down in the crowd" and "reported cardiac in progress."

As HFD listened to distressed call after distressed call, the agency said it acted on its own and sent first responders to the scene despite never hearing from organizers.

On Friday, Alex Hilliard, of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP, said by the time the gates opened the morning of the festival "everything was out of control."

"The logs only detail a tragic timeline of understanding and knowledge from these corporations that people were dying and that steps should have been taken to shut the concert down and nobody did anything," said Hilliard, who is representing victims in a lawsuit against Live Nation.

Live Nation, the event's organizer, previously said in a statement to ABC News, "We continue to support and assist local authorities in their ongoing investigation so that both the fans who attended and their families can get the answers they want and deserve."

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