Department Of Public Safety Releases Arson Report - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/28/08

Department Of Public Safety Releases Arson Report

A new report from the Department of Public Safety reveals newly published details in the arson fire that severely damaged the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin. NewsChannel 11 has reviewed that report, just released on Monday. 

The 16-page report gives a full timeline of the events leading up to, and during the fire. It also says security cameras captured a suspect throwing a Molotov cocktail at the mansion, but probably the most interesting part is the conclusion, that says there wasn't enough security when this fire broke out.

DPS Trooper John Esposito began his four hour shift at the governor's mansion at 9:48 p.m. on June 7th.  The report says Esposito was the only person on the grounds. He sat in the carriage house, viewing the security monitors for most of his shift, but the report says towards the end, he worked on a computer, about 12-feet from the bank of monitors, and would periodically check them.

At 1:27 a.m. on June 8th, a security camera recorded someone throwing a Molotov cocktail at the mansion. "It lands on the porch of the governor's mansion, and the fire spread very rapidly," State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado said. 

Eight minutes after that, a fire alarm goes off.  Another seven minutes pass before Trooper Esposito calls DPS Communications. A passer-by alerts 911 to the fire, four minutes before DPS calls the Austin Fire Department.

The report goes on to detail the security measures, and says prior to the fire administrators knew four security cameras were not working at the mansion. After the fire, they discovered seven cameras were in fact off-line.  Infrared beams were also inoperable, due to system maintenance and they were blocked by construction at the time of the fire.

The report also says two troopers should have been on staff that night. It concludes with this: "as a result of not following the proper chains of command, only one trooper was scheduled on June 7th. Two troopers should have been scheduled".

According to the report, investigators recovered a lighter at the scene. So far, no arrest has been made.

(Click Here) to read the entire DPS Report. 

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