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Did police intentionally set the cabin fire in Dorner standoff

Published On: Feb 14 2013 08:03:34 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2013 10:00:00 PM CST

There are questions tonight about the cabin fire that happened at the end of the Dorner stand-off. What ignited the fire? Was the cause tear gas canisters  commonly called "burners" that were fired inside? Did authorities want the cabin to burn?

PALM DESERT, Cali. -

 "That's going to have to be addressed.  You can't have police acting like that. I sympathize with what they were doing but the whole situation was difficult."
     Dave Whittemore reacts to the two officer involved shootings during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner.
     Two cases of mistaken identity where police face accusations of shooting first and asking questions later. Now, more questions surrounding the death of Dorner.
     The manhunt finally ended in flames Tuesday night in the San Bernardino mountains.
     The San Bernardino Sheriff's department denies deputies deliberately set the fire, but audio recordings taken from police scanners seem to contradict that, leaving some people to question police tactics.
     In the recordings officers are heard saying;
"Alright we're gonna go ahead with the plan with the burners."
"Copy"
"Like we talked about"
"The burners are deployed, and we have a fire"
     "Burners" is police slang for tear gas canisters known to cause fires and there are often other options.
     But, did police let their emotions get the better of them?
     Other recordings reveal several officers screaming to burn the cabin after the initial encounter, though the fire didn't start for several hours.
     Dennis Gutierrez is a retired Riverside County Sheriff Sergeant who worked on the force for 20 years. He tells us, "During that particular scene, if you see a colleague that's fallen, we hire from the human race, and emotions will rise. Because maybe it's someone and they've never seen a comrade in arms or a fellow officer killed in front of their eyes, and it's going to be an emotional toll."
     Some suggest law enforcement should have waited Dorner out,
but police say because of the intense circumstances surrounding the situation, waiting wasn't an option.
     Luis Bolanos is a private investigator (getbitinvestigations.com), who knows laws and tactics of law enforcement well. "With the scene they were presented, they absolutely responded in the correct manner," Bolanos tells us. "I agree with the entire offensive plan at that."
     Police say they couldn't risk taking a heavily armed Dorner alive.
     With the light fading fast, law enforcement had to act accordingly, with the equipment they had available.
     "Say we equipped a SWAT Team that way, comes in their van, they have all that equipment," Gutierrez says. "But, if you notice these guys here...they had to work with what they had. And what does law enforcement do? Stop the threat, to make sure no one else is injured."
     Although the gas canisters launched into the cabin are the most likely source for the blaze, it may be weeks, even months, before the exact cause can be determined.