You may recall that Mike Ward (AKA FossilMedic) was among the first to wonder aloud about the sprinkler system during the dramatic October 21 standoff and fire inside the Westfield Galleria shopping center in Roseville, California. Word soon came that there was an order from police to shut down the system. Now, an after action report by the City of Roseville indicates that wasn’t exactly accurate.
A report released early Friday morning by the City of Roseville says that a Westfield Galleria at Roseville employee shut off the mall’s fire sprinkler system. Thursday, a Judge denied the Placer County District Attorney’s request to issue a gag order to prevent the release of the report, clearing the way for the release.
The “City of Roseville Westfield Galleria Arson After-Action Report” summarizes the October 21 incident. It details the actions of all agencies involved, and includes a timeline of what happened at the mall. It concludes with a narrative of the lessons learned. Throughout the report and timeline, it is noted that concerns about about an armed man and an explosive device being inside the mall were factors in decisions being made.
According to the timeline in the report, at 10:36 a.m., a Westfield employee turned off a fire sprinkler valve. The employee says he did so at the direction of law enforcement. Neither police or fire were aware of the shutoff. The reports says, an investigation revealed that the employee was told by a UPS employee inside the mall that police wanted the sprinklers turned off. Neither the Westfield employee nor the UPS employee could recall or identify the individual who made that request. The timeline shows that at 11:41 a.m., the fire prevention officer was advised that the sprinklers were shut off. Ten minutes later, the system was turned back on, and police inside the mall report the sprinklers were going off again.
At 12:02 p.m. heavy fire was reported in the attic space above GameStop. Nine minutes later police detained suspect Alexander Piggee. The timeline between 12:13 p.m. and 1:50 p.m. has numerous mentions of concerns about the safety of sending firefighters into the building because of the continued concern about an explosive device being inside. At 1:50 p.m. all police officers in the mall are evacuated due to heavy smoke and fire conditions and firefighters focus on putting out the fire from the outside. The fire was declared contained at 6 p.m.
The “Summary and Lessons Learned” portion of the report concludes that the fire, the size of the mall, the potentially armed man, and concerns about explosives being inside made this the “most complex fire and police response” in Roseville history. It notes that communication on scene was good, but could be improved by immediately placing the police and fire command posts in the same location. Key personnel need to wear clothing that clearly identifies their role. The report also addresses the need for better use of protective equipment and improvements in support for an ongoing, fluid situation.
The Placer County District Attorney had requested a gag order to prevent the release of the report. The District Attorney said the release could make it more difficult for Alexander Piggee to get a fair trial. Piggee’s attorney, and the media opposed the gag order. A Judge Thursday denied the request to delay the release of the report.
Also on STATter911 …
- ‘Get off the roof!’ Interesting audio from Sacramento fire with a report of people trapped as command orders a switch to defensive operations. – December 28, 2011
- Raw video & radio traffic: Chicago FD 4-11 in a warehouse. – December 30, 2012
- UPDATED – Worker rescued after parking garage collapse at MD’s Westfield Montgomery Mall. Second worker dead. – May 23, 2013
- Raw video: Bus fire & MCI inside DC’s 3rd Street Tunnel under The Mall. – May 21, 2012
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