Worker Disabled Sprinklers in Calif. Mall Fire

ROSEVILLE, Calif. --

The city of Roseville has released a key report about the Westfield Galleria fire after a judge denied a gag order request in the case of a man accused of setting the blaze.

The Oct. 21 fire destroyed some of the mall and caused millions of dollars in damages.

According to the report:

  • Sprinkler system was shut off by a Galleria maintenance worker who said he was told by a police or sheriff's deputy to do so. A UPS worker also said he told maintenance workers that police said to do this. However, neither person could identify who, if anyone, gave that order.
  • Sprinkler system was shut off for an hour and 11 minutes, before emergency crews realized it and were able to turn it back on.
  • After the suspect was arrested at 12:11 p.m., police denied access to fire crews saying it was not safe due to the possibility of an explosive device or bomb inside.
  • During this time the report states the "fire had grown immensely in the attic above the Game Stop."
  • At 1:11 p.m., police and fire crews actually discussed turning the sprinklers off again for purpose of using their robot. This plan was ultimately dismissed.
  • By 3:14 p.m., the roof collapsed near the Game Stop
  • Fire contained by 6 p.m.

Alexander Piggee remains in jail in connection with the blaze, on suspicion of arson.

The Placer County district attorney had asked for a gag order in the case, claiming it was needed to avoid tainting the potential jury pool.

But Piggee's defense attorney disagreed, and so did the judge.

The move clears the way for the city to release an after-action report, which is expected to detail firefighters' response to the blaze. It may also explain why the mall's fire sprinklers were turned off.

A 9 a.m. news conference is scheduled Friday to discuss the report.

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