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UPDATED: Photos of Burned Out Dorner Cabin Provoke More Questions Than Answers

UPDATE: Dorner’s body has been positively identified. Sources also acknowledge that highly flammable “hot gas” canisters were used, which caused the cabin to catch fire. So it was the canisters, not the cops, that set the fire. They’re still saying that the fire was not set deliberately, although I don’t know how they are able to determine the intention of each of the individual canisters. Perhaps they were acting in unison, or perhaps there was a rogue canister who chose to set the fire.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials have positively identified the charred remains found in a mountain cabin Tuesday as being the body of Christopher Dorner.

Officials said they made the identification using dental records during the autopsy.


SWAT officers in the cabin standoff decided to use highly flammable “hot gas” canisters as a last resort after other efforts to persuade Dorner to surrender failed, according to law enforcement sources.

Officers made the decision to use the canisters, which caused the cabin to catch fire, as the sun was setting Tuesday and authorities worried about dealing with Dorner at night in the remote Big Bear area, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. Dorner had continued to fire on officers, and they feared more deputies would be hurt or killed, they added.


As has been discussed fairly extensively in two different diaries about fugitive Christopher Dorner here at FDL, many people are questioning whether the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department set fire to a cabin intentionally and/or allowed it to burn to the ground with a man presumed to be Dorner—but as of yet unidentified—inside.

In spite of scanner audio that seems to make the opposite case, police insist they did not set the fire intentionally and they have not acknowledged that the fire was caused by the “burners” that they shot into the cabin. Their story is as follows:

A short time later, police caught up with the man they believe was Dorner, surrounding a cabin where he’d taken refuge after crashing Heltebrake’s truck in the San Bernardino Mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

A gunfight ensued in which one sheriff’s deputy was killed and another wounded. After the firefight ended, a SWAT team using an armored vehicle broke out the cabin’s windows and began knocking down walls. A fire started, and later, charred remains believed to be Dorner’s were found.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said Wednesday the fire was not set on purpose.

“We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out,” he said.

His deputies lobbed pyrotechnic tear gas into the cabin, and it erupted in flames, he said. McMahon did not say directly that the tear gas started the blaze, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

Now there are photos of the burned out cabin. Click through these with that official statement above in mind. You may ask yourself (in David Byrne’s voice if it helps):

Does it look like they used armored vehicles to knock down the walls? Wouldn’t there be tire tracks or treads in the snow approaching all, or at least some, sides of the cabin?

Even though everything is pretty much obliterated, doesn’t it seem like there would be evidence that the walls had been pushed in? Perhaps larger piles of ash in the interior rooms or something?

In the first photo, what looks like a redwood fence at the upper left is still partially intact. I am just trying to imagine them knocking down walls and driving an armored vehicle around and still leaving so many things upright.

Given that tear gas is known to cause fires, it only makes sense that they would have had fire equipment standing by and yet it is very, very clear that they made no attempt whatsoever to put the fire out. That makes their statement that they didn’t start the fire in order to flush Dorner out (or burn him alive) pretty hard to swallow.

Please contribute your own questions (or potential answers) to this post. It appears that so far, the MSM is content to just publish these photos without engaging in any sort of critical thought.

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