Crowd Estimates: 725k to 2M
Update, 12:57 p.m.: Several agencies are estimating the crowd, including the parade route, at 1.8 million.
Update, 11 a.m.: Officials are providing crowd estimates of between 725,000 to 2 million.
Original post: 500 F STREET NW -- DC Fire/EMS Chief Dennis L. Rubin said at 9 a.m. that crowd estimates he has received so far say roughly 500,000 people are already in place on the Mall, ahead of projections for this time of day.
Inside Engine 2 firehouse near Chinatown, National Guardsman slept on cots next to silent fire trucks, after working all night directing traffic and closing down streets. On the second floor, the firehouse buzzed with activity in the rooms that house the Inaugural Command.
The agency is servicing two cities today essentially, Rubin said -- the area inside the Inaugural security perimeter, and the rest of the District. The department has set up a special Inaugural Command, headed by Incident Commander Lawrence S. Schultz, an Assistant Fire Chief. That command is broken up into four areas: U.S. Capitol, White House, National Mall and the parade route. More than 1,000 firefighters and emergency personnel are assigned to that command, much higher than the normal workday of about nearly 400 firefighters and emergency personnel. That special detail includes assistance from departments around the region.
Another separate command is handling non-Inauguration calls, which average about 500 a day, but Rubin said he expects that number to be higher today because of reported water main breaks and cold weather.
Inside the Inauguration perimeter, the fire department has received roughly 50 calls for servce as of 9 a.m. for trips and falls and hypothermia-related issues like cold hands and feet, Rubin said. Emergency responders are walking, riding on ATV-like vehicles, in an attempt to get through the crowd and respond.
"The humanity, that's our only issue, getting in and out," said department spokesman Alan Etter. "We're having to be creative trying to manipulate ourselves geographically in and out of the crowd."
-- Theola Labbe-DeBose
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