A six-day California manhunt ended Tuesday with rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner apparently dying in a cabin fire on Bear Mountain.One of many big questions to be answered is how the deadly fire was started.
Multiple unconfirmed audio clips appear to show police officers talking about burning down the cabin in which the alleged cop-killer was hiding.
Deliberately starting a fire, rather than waiting out the suspect, could be seen as an extreme measure.
The fire could have been started unintentionally, however, by the use of tear gas. But fires have started in this way before, as happened during a different police standoff last month in Los Angeles.
Tear gas, which goes by the chemical name o-chlorobenzylidenemalononitrile, or CS, can be dispensed either in projectiles like hand grenades or shells, or from gas generators, according to the New York Times. When used in grenade form, it incorporates pyrotechnic chemicals similar to the bursting explosives and flame-makers used in fireworks. The burning agents turn the CS into mist, and the pyrotechnics can start fires.
“Burn him out!”
“Get to him right now, f—— burn this motherf—–!”
Another unconfirmed video posted to YouTube of television coverage from CBS 2 captures officers apparently saying, “burn it down, burn it down … get the gas.” Another officer says, “yeah, burn it down.” The exchange happens around the 1:24 mark:
The Guardian reports that journalist Max Blumenthal was listening to the police scanners, and live-tweeting the event.
On the scanners, Blumenthal reports hearing an exchange where the police talk about using “burners.” The Daily Caller is reporting that is police slang for tear gas.
“All right, Steve, we’re gonna go, we’re gonna go forward with the plan, with the burner.”
“Copy,” is the response.
“We want it, like we talked about.”
“Seven burners deployed and we have a fire,” says the first voice.
“Copy. Seven burners deployed and we have a fire,” responds a female voice.
You can listen to the unconfirmed recording of the scanner transmissions below. The exchange about “burners” happens around the 1min mark.
If further investigation reveals that the fire was deliberately set by police officers, it brings back memories of the 1993 standoff in Waco, TX, which left 76 people dead. Controversy still remains on whether the fire was started by FBI use of incendiary tear gas canisters.
A spokesman with the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that “burners” is not a term that their department uses. “We would just say tear gas,” he said. Multiple calls from Business Insider to San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office, the organisation with jurisdiction over the scene, went unanswered.
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