Q&A: Ed Emmett's take on Harris County's response to ITC Deer Park fire

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Judge Ed Emmett served as Harris County Judge from 2007-2018. He is now a Channel 2 political analyst.

Emmett said he's reluctant to criticize Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, but did answer some questions about his view of her performance during the ITC/Deer Park fire.

Eisenbaum: "What grade would you give to your replacement, Hidalgo, in her handling of the ITC fire?"

Emmett: "I don't think I'm going to get into giving out grades. I do think the concern is you have to get information out quicker, and this was her first attempt and, OK, there was a learning curve there. I do worry more about the coordination. We didn't know what was burning and we didn't know where the plume was going or where it was going to come down and I think that's the concern that everybody has to have."

Eisenbaum: "What do you think about her press conferences?"

Emmett: "The first press conference, the company wasn't there, the state wasn't there. If you drag it on and it's an hour and you are having all of these people coming back and forth to the microphone. People don't have time for that, they want facts and they want them quick."

Eisenbaum: "What's your best advice moving forward?"

Emmett: "The most important thing now is to say, 'OK, what can we do better?' That's always a learning experience, and the professionals in the county will do that."

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