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Gag motion halts Galleria arson report

Document would have addressed criticism for arson fire response
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
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The long-awaited report that would have detailed the highly-criticized emergency response to a Galleria arson fire is staying closeted, the City of Roseville announced Tuesday. In withholding the after-action report, the city cited the Placer County District Attorney’s motion for a gag order. “We look forward to having a chance to set the record straight,” city spokeswoman Megan MacPherson told the Press Tribune. “But criminal prosecution has priority.” Prosecutor David Broady said he filed the gag order request around 9 a.m. in Placer County Superior Court, which will hear the motion Dec. 14. That is the day Alexander Piggee, accused of burning down a portion of the Galleria on Oct. 21, is scheduled to appear in court in Auburn. Though the motion is pending and carries no legal obligation, the city said in a release it supported prosecutors’ desire to “avoid excessive pre-trial publicity that would interfere with the rights of the Defendant and the People to a fair trial in this case.” News of the gag order request comes just as Roseville was to release a report, on Thursday, that would presumably answer why sprinklers were shut off during the mall fire. Previous media inquiries, about the sprinklers and other decisions in extinguishing the inferno and arresting Piggee, were postponed in expectation of the after-action report. MacPherson said officials were still working on the report as of Tuesday. When asked about the timing of his motion, Broady suggested it would be hypocritical to discuss more about the case in public after requesting through his filing that information be kept private. “I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment on that, pending the judge’s decision,” he said. MacPherson noted that the city has cooperated closely with the district attorney’s office and other local agencies handling the arson and its aftermath. Lien Hoang can be reached at lienh@goldcountrymedia.com.