The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

November 18, 2010
Watchdog Report: Galleria fire questions still smolder in Roseville

So far, Roseville officials have left several significant questions lingering in the wake of last month's fire at Westfield Galleria, the region's largest shopping mall.

Among the most pressing:

• Who ordered the mall's sprinkler system shut off and why?

• Did that decision exacerbate the damages, estimated to be $55 million?

• Did the use of bomb- detecting robots help or harm the situation?

• Were concerns that arson suspect Alexander Piggee possessed explosives warranted?

Earlier this week, outgoing Mayor Gina Garbolino said she is happy with the pace of the city's internal investigation, which will presumably answer those questions and more.

She also said she is comfortable with the Police Department investigating its own incident response.

The "after-action report" will be made public the week of Dec. 6, officials said.

In response to a public records request by The Bee, the city this week released 320 pages of e-mails about the fire.

Withheld were e-mails directly related to the police and fire response - information that could be used to draft the post-fire report.

What is left are frantic e-mails between members of the public relations team, e-mails from outside agencies offering help and post-event congratulations.

"Everyone involved in the emergency response performed exceptionally well and did what they were supposed to do," wrote City Manager Ray Kerridge. "I am proud of this organization."

- Ed Fletcher

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