Arson suspected in Texas Governor's Mansion fire
AUSTIN — Arson is suspected in a fire that swept through the historic Texas Governor's Mansion early Sunday and left much of the 152-year-old home charred and severely damaged, the state fire marshal said.
"We have some evidence that indicates that we do have an intentionally set fire," said state Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado. "So we believe that we may be looking at a criminal act here."
Calling it a "devastating loss to the state of Texas," Maldonado did not offer details on how the fire may have been set or whether authorities had identified a suspect.
Security cameras are set up around the mansion, which sits downtown on a lot the size of a city block, and investigators were interviewing people who were nearby and might have noticed suspicious activity.
"We're going to come get the person that's responsible for causing this damage," Maldonado said.
About 100 firefighters responded when an alarm when off just before 2 a.m. The mansion has been unoccupied since Perry and his wife, Anita, temporarily moved out last fall so the mansion could undergo a $10 million renovation. It was scheduled to be completed next year.
No injuries were reported, and there was no immediate financial estimate of the damage.
Small hot spots were still smoldering more than six hours after the fire began. Puffs of smoke billowed from the building.
State officials said damage to the Greek Revival-style mansion — first occupied by Gov. Elisha Marshall Pease — was extensive.