Texas Governor’s Mansion Heavily Damaged in Fire; Arson Suspected

June 9, 2008

Arson is suspected in a fire that swept through the Texas Governor’s Mansion early on June 8, causing damage that state officials described as “bordering on catastrophic.”

The 150-year-old mansion has been undergoing a complete, $10 million renovation since October 2007. The addition of fire sprinklers was included in the renovation plans, but those were not yet installed, according to the governor’s office. Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, have been living elsewhere since the renovation efforts began. The two-story mansion has been the home of every Texas governor since 1856.

The fire was started under the mansion’s front porch, officials believe. The white columns at the front of the home were charred, and parts of the roof collapsed.

About 100 firefighters were sent to the four-alarm blaze, Austin Fire Department spokeswoman Dawn Clopton said. Small hot spots were still being extinguished more than five hours later, the Associated Press reported.

The Greek Revival style mansion has six 29 -foot columns that span the front porch looking out to Colorado Street. It is the oldest executive residence west of the Mississippi, and the fourth oldest in the nation, according to the governor’s office.

The renovations were expected to be completed in Spring 2009.

Associated Press reportes contributed to this story.

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