'Suspicious' fire under investigation at governor's mansion

'Suspicious' fire under investigation at governor's mansion

A “suspicious” fire broke out over the weekend near the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, but investigators are uncertain what sparked the blaze, fire officials said Monday.

About 1 p.m. Sunday, a state park ranger noticed the charred remains of a fire outside the carriage house, a building on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park, said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

Debris on a metal hand cart -- including sticks, leaves and cardboard -- had ignited, and nearby were exploded canisters of butane and propane, Berlant said. The fire probably covered only a few feet and was extinguished before the ranger discovered the remains.

The fire is believed to have started between 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, but the cause remains under investigation by the state fire marshal's office.

"It's definitely an unusual incident," Berlant said. "And that’s what leads it to be suspicious in nature."

On Sunday, several arson and bomb investigators combed the scene and interviewed residents around the mansion, in the 1500 block of H Street.

Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, live in their Oakland Hills home. At the time of the fire, no staff were on the property, Berlant said. The mansion has been closed since Jan. 1 for an “extensive renovation project,” according to the state parks department.

The fire caused cosmetic damage to the exterior of the carriage house, but the overall structure was unharmed.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state’s arson hotline at (800) 468-4408.

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