'Ignoring the situation': Critics claim not enough has been done since Astroworld tragedy

Daniela Hurtado Image
Friday, June 30, 2023
Some critics believe not enough has changed since Astroworld
ABC13 is taking a look at changes the city made to big events after the Astroworld Festival tragedy, but some are criticizing it's not enough.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been nearly two years since the Astroworld tragedy, and the City of Houston says it's taken measures in hopes of preventing this from happening again.

However, some say we're not ready for another event like it and believe things haven't really changed much.

"Children died, and the families are the ones that are suffering, and we want to ensure that this tragedy never happens again. And it takes open, frank, and transparent dialogue," Houston Firefighters Association President Patrick Marty Lancton said.

Lancton was on the governor's task force for concert safety. He says he doesn't feel the city is prepared for another event like Astroworld. He says more transparency and discussions need to happen.

RELATED: Grand jury decides not to bring charges in case of deadly Astroworld Festival concert surge

Police were unable to point at one thing for the cause of 10 festivalgoers' deaths in the Astroworld disaster, citing the complexity of the whole ordeal.

"We had a private company that was inside of the footprint. We didn't have the Houston Fire Department commanding control. That identified as a problem," Lancton said.

Last year, a task force the city created in response to the tragedy announced new rules, requiring a unified command center for all public safety agencies to be centrally located at an event like Astroworld to improve communication.

Crowd management expert Paul Wertheimer tells ABC13 he feels the city hasn't done enough.

"I'm not aware, personally, of anything that they've done in the long-term to protect fans. Because I'm not aware that they've done anything substantive," Wertheimer said.

During a news conference on Thursday, Chief Troy Finner noted the work that has been done and the crowd management training they've done along with HFD in preparation for other concerts and large-scale events.

SEE MORE: A full breakdown of what happened at Astroworld Festival tragedy, according to Houston police

Houston police released a timeline of the Nov. 5, 2021, Astroworld Festival tragedy that left 10 concertgoers dead.

"Now we have mandatory and elevated platform viewing positions. These will be staffed by HPD officials, HFD officials," Finner said.

But crowd management experts are skeptical, saying new standards and laws are needed to protect the public.

"They make more money by ignoring the situation and playing Russian roulette with the lives of young people. And as cynical as that may sound, that's actually what's going on," Wertheimer said.

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