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Texas Governor's Mansion Fire

On June 8, 2008 an arsonist set fire to the Texas Governor's Mansion, badly damaging the historic building. Here's a day by day look at the investigation.

June 8, 2008
At approximately 1:45 a.m., a Department of Public Safety trooper and members of the public called 911 saying the Texas Governor's Mansion in Downtown Austin was on fire. In the next five hours, more than 100 Austin firefighters fought the fire. Part of the roof had collapsed and the fire destroyed much of the internal structure.  No one was inside the 152-year-old home when the fire began.

The mansion had been undergoing a $10 million renovation and Gov. Rick Perry and his wife weren't living there. All of the furniture, paintings and other artifacts had been moved out of the building.

Investigators suspected arson.

June 9, 2008
State investigators and agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms began sifting through charred remains searching for answers. They also reviewed dozens of hours of security camera video and specially trained dogs sniffed for accelerants. The Department of Public Safety would not answer questions about security at the Mansion that night.

June 10, 2008

The Governor's Office released pictures from inside the Mansion showing significant damage.  Gov. Rick Perry arrived back in Austin from a trip to Europe and got his first look at the damage.

June 11, 2008
In his first public statement about the fire, Perry called what happened at the Downtown Austin building heinous and unspeakable.

June 12, 2008

The Texas Fire Marshal revealed surveillance video shows a person throwing a Molotov Cocktail (a lit container with flammable liquid) on the mansion's front porch.

June 19, 2008
A DPS investigator told the Public Safety Commission about numerous security breaches at the Governor's Mansion the night of the fire including security cameras not working, under staffing and the one trooper on duty was not property trained.

July 15, 2008
Texas first lady Anita Perry announced a fund where Texans can donate to restore the Mansion.

July 28, 2008
DPS released its internal investigation with a step by step timeline and details of the fire. Much of the blame was placed on Capt. Dale Avant, the head of the Governors security detail. The report said Avant knew about various security problems but did not act on them.

July 29, 2008
Texas Rangers release security video of the man who firebombed the mansion.

February 2009
State Preservation Board estimates restoration will cost $27 million.

October 2009
The Texas Preservation Board unveiled plans to renovate the mansion.  It includes a two-story addition to give more space for first families.

Jan. 5 2010
The Heritage Society of Austin came out against the renovation plans.  The Heritage Society called the new wing for the proposed living quarters unsightly and inappropriate.

Jan. 15, 2010
The State Preservation Board withdrew its plans to build the new addition.

Feb. 17, 2011
New videos and sketches are released of "persons of interest" in the fire bombing.

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