SAN ANTONIO (AP) – San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood says the many injured survivors taken from the tractor-trailer parked outside a Walmart store were suffering in varying degrees from such injuries as heat stroke and dehydration.
Hood told journalists at the scene that paramedics and firefighters who treated the victims found all had accelerated heartbeats when they were taken from the truck in the stifling heat. The high in San Antonio had reached 101 degrees (38 Celsius) on Saturday.
“They were very hot to the touch. So these people were in this trailer without any signs of any type of water,” Hood says.
In video authorities posted online, Hood stood against a backdrop of flashing emergency vehicle lights in the pre-dawn hours as he briefed reporters. He says police and fire officials treated it as a “mass casualty situation” much like an airplane disaster.
In addition to the eight dead, Hood says, there were at least 30 others aboard the truck. Of those survivors, at least 20 people were in extremely critical or serious condition and the others had lesser injuries.
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