Austin, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — A fire tore through the Texas Governor’s Mansion on Sunday morning leaving behind a saddened and scorched version of the once regal 152-year old landmark. Photos of the interior, released on Tuesday, show a collapsed ceiling flooding natural sunlight onto charred debris and blackened walls.
The Associated Press confirmed that the mansion was unoccupied when the fire broke out and thankfully so. Renovations in the amount of $10 million were underway including the installation of a new outdoor sprinkler system. Prior to the blaze, all furniture and relics had been removed from the mansion for renovation project so those items escaped damage.
According to the AP report, “In one of the photos, released by Gov. Rick Perry’s office, a person can be seen standing on the mansion’s severely damaged but still intact main staircase, littered with ash. Other photos show damage to the second-floor ceiling and a view from inside the Sam Houston bedroom. Investigators have initially concluded from witnesses and video surveillance tapes the fire was set shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, said state Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado.”
Officials stated that they have located a suspect of particular interest on the surveillance tape and they are confident that the perpetrator will be found and brought to justice.
The damage to the mansion included damage to the roof that caused it to buckle and sever charring to the front of the mansion as well as fire damage to the revival-style columns. Although a full assessment of the total damages have yet to be completed, a full arson investigation is being conducted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s spokespeople have expressed a strong desire to rebuild the state landmark.
Texas Wired Reporter