Fatalities mount prior to Rita reaching land
class=img_thumbleft>A passenger bus carrying hurricane evacuees from a Bellaire nursing home exploded into flames near Dallas killing at least 24 senior residents of Brighton Gardens and injuring several others. A mechanical problem caused the blaze and a passenger's oxygen tank caught fire. The medical examiners of Fort Bend, Harris, and Montgomery counties have all reported deaths related to the evacuation taking place prior to Hurricane Rita reaching landfall in Texas. Extreme heat and no water during the slow-moving trek out of Houston were contributing factors. Earlier this morning, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that between 2.5 million to 2.7 million people had evacuated Houston in 24 hours, with 15 airlifts taking place yesterday, and nine more scheduled today. KHOU in Houston has a blog set up to track events as they happen.
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