Handwritten activity logs from the Houston Fire Department offer a chilling look at how things unfolded both before and after the deadly crowd surge at Travis Scott’s chaotic Astroworld Festival last week.
When Scott took the stage at his third ever Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, last Friday, a crowd surged forward, resulting in people getting crushed by one another. Hundreds were injured and eight people died as a result of the conditions in the crowd.
USA Today obtained the Houston Fire Department’s Activity Log for the day, which offers a detailed account of what the fire department was hearing through its radios picking up the Houston Police Department’s chatter inside the venue.
Entries depict a chaotic scene as security and police struggled to hold back the crowd. Several reports began as early as 8:15 a.m. of masses of people trying to force or sneak their way into the event, which included multiple performers, two stages and carnival rides set up at NRG Park. At that time, police requested riot equipment.
Fire officials listened over the radio to a myriad of dispatches from medical personnel as well as police, recording all significant events by hand in a log. At least 10 times throughout the morning they heard dispatches of people attempting to rush security and break their way into the event.
By the late afternoon, organizers estimated that 5,000 additional people had snuck their way into the festival. Even before the event, things were dangerous for those in attendance at Astroworld. The logs report 262 concertgoers were treated by medical staff prior to Scott taking the stage at 9:15 p.m.
At 9:27 p.m. the outlet reports that the incident commander commented on the intensifying emergency. A communications officer reportedly noted: “This is when it all got real.”
By 9:35 p.m. in the middle of Scott’s performance, firefighters began to pick up on calls that the situation was escalating to the level of an emergency. Twenty minutes later, they reportedly heard the first report of “Reported cardiac in progress,” one of the direst calls a first responder can get.
Firefighters reportedly decided at that point to mobilize and, within 18 minutes the situation was declared a “Mass Casualty Incident, Level 2.”
This is in keeping with comments that Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena previously gave to Fox News, noting that his people had a direct line of communication to the Houston Police Department deployed inside the venue, while Pena made the decision to have firefighters on standby should they be needed. Fortunately, that instinct was correct and the HFD was able to deploy swiftly to assist.