>> thank you for comprehensive, concrete and candid presentation. we would appreciate if you would give the minister and his delegation attends to get on to their next appointment. we have copies of the speech available out front and on our web site but let's conclude, please join me in expressing our appreciation. [applause] ..
this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody. canyon all right? oh, darn. for those of you who don't know me, i'm pat bosse, and those that do know me, that's okay, too. when john asked me to help with this program, i said gladly, and overwhelmingly gladly be happy to help represent our engine 57. and we didn't know is that i really like a microphone. [laughter] and so i was just talking to norm, a couple other guys earlier and they said, are you going to do your normal stand up or are you going to keep it short and sweet? i said i will introduce myself and that will take the first hour, then we can go on from there and get on with the program. but without that we're going to
take a little step back in time, october 26, 2006, and folks, bear with us. this is going to be a fairly hard journey, but it's going to be a good one for all of us. before i introduce john, i would like to have the families that are representing their guys, please stand and introduce themselves. all the family members that are here. maria, go ahead and start it off. >> [inaudible]
>> jodi mckay, jason mckay's sister. >> fithian representing daniel. >> are there any other family members here that i didn't see? thank you so much for that. appreciate it very much. [applause] also one of the gentlemen here, greg koehler, the owner of the property. greg, would you please stand? [applause] [inaudible] >> pardon me lex [inaudible] >> and your wife is? welcome, thank you so much. [applause] greg has been an awesome supporter of this and he's done tremendous job down there at the site. the monument is just tremendous, overwhelming.
if anybody has a chance, make sure the next time frame you go down there, and he welcomes you with open arms. and it's quite a memory lane. so without any further ado i would like to introduce john maclean, the author of the esperanza book. he will take us through a powerpoint presentation and after the powerpoint presentation i will have a panel of gentlemen. and we can have some questions and answers and we'll just take it from there. john, thank you. [applause] >> well, thank you all. and there are quite a lot of you, for coming out here on a blizzard the day. i think anybody who is not prepared for unusual weather events probably shouldn't be reading a book about the esperanza fire, a blizzard in southern california in march is not what you expect in an area ignition is not what you expect.
and that's kind of the story of the esperanza fire. i would like to talk briefly before i start the powerpoint presentation about what it was like to do the reporting and writing of this book. i could get the byline. my name is anna. i don't share that with anybody, but it was a shared enterprise. it was a democratically constructed project. i did not do this alone. i could not have done it under normal reporting circumstances here it would have been impossible. what made it possible was the cooperation of the men and women of the united states forest service who are most directly involved in the fire, and of the families of the fallen, and of the men and women who pursued and caught raymond oyler, and prosecuted him, and put him on death row.
it was about this time of year, six years ago when richard gerhart, who is with us today, one of the captains who is with mark and engine 57 on the day of the fire, came up to me at a fire presentation in reno, nevada, where i had a table and i was peddling books, which is one of the things i do. and he marched up to the table without introducing himself and said are you writing a book about the esperanza fire? i said, well, no, i'm not. doubtfire has a gag order against me, and newspeople in general, so i'm not going to do. he said well, it's not a hellfire. it's a forest service store and will give it to you. he brought norm walker over. norm is with us today who is your fire chief in idyllwild here for a while. norm kind of ambled over. he didn't march the way richard did.
and started very quietly and very persistently telling me this story from his point of view and from the point of view of the people who were there. people are very upset about what had happened, naturally, but the upset went beyond the tragedy of the event. and it went into the aftermath and how it was being handled. my career has been made on botched investigations of fires. i don't know that you could say this one was botched. there were some very good reasons for the way things turned out in the investigation. the prosecution of raymond oyler have not happen at that time, but it's the first time it wound up being the first time if you thing -- anyone was ever convicted of murder for setting up online fire. everyone scared to death they would record the investigation and, of course, they clamped up at that led to some unfortunate consequences. so i had breakfast the next
morning with freddie espinoza was also here, another one of the captains, their cooperation has been unrelenting for 60 years. would have asked her something i've gotten it. i've talked to them hundreds of times. we have spent more hours than i can count going over things. i submitted the text to them. they corrected it. we discussed it. came back with stuff. this went on year after year. i came out here year after year. and as a consequence, we have, and it is a week, and authentic text. i wouldn't claim more for it than that but that's an awful lot. it passes muster with the people who were there. it passes muster with those who have had to live with the consequences. as the book says, a fatal fire does not die out when the embers are cold.
it burns for generations. down into the sons and daughters, the grandchildren. these things don't go away. so, the collective group effort has produced the book. i thank you all for the kind things you have said to me. i hope you extend those remarks at least in thought to all the rest of the people who gave so much to make this whatever it is. okay. the esperanza fire as we all know happened nearby. that's the book. this is the scene, as seen from the air to the north of the town,d it identifies the
byrne oversight. it from this photograph you can see very clearly the course of what is called the unnamed creek drainage. i'd like to see it remain, the engine 57 drainage so it doesn't sound so bland and so forgotten. the fire started about over here in the foothills, around the foothills for most of seven hours, and the failed event occurred when the fire blew up in this part of the drainage. this is a total aerial view looking down at the same scene, and the red mark is the fire perimeter in the first 24 hours. the inset is a photograph of vivian who is here today, pointing to the spot where the ignition device was placed or
tossed by raymond oyler, about 12 feet off the roadway along, along as bronze after. it's a perfect place to start a fire. there's heavy timber. there's flashy fuels. there's a slope to carry it. there's a little goalie to make it go faster. the ignition came at the end of the summer long series of fires in which the arsonist became increasingly effective at setting first. he started out on a flatbed. he wound up in that perfect spot. this is the map that is in the book shushan road to places of the origin of the fire, the fatalities so. here we are up in idyllwild which was threatened at several points during the fire. the engines from the hill, from up here, or call down to the icp
in cabazon. and mark grumbles about it and said we will wind up going back up your. this is what they encountered when they got to the icp. the fire began at 1:11 a.m., was called in at that time. all was in darkness but by the time to get down the hill, as you can see, things had progressed to a degree that you have a graph mark on the hills. the fire is moving right along. now let's see if i can get this story. this was taken from one of the engines as it responded into the icp. i think it was freddie espinoza's. looking to see where i need --
>> i think it was one of my guys out there. >> i will be erected during the course of this by the people who were there. this is what we did for six years. it wasn't that john come you got wrong. you don't really understand what an area ignition is. it doesn't take a wind, john, to cause an area ignition. i said we had a wind. all right. this is a map you'll see several times. don't try to memorize it, that the units, the five units from here wound up at three different places on twin pines ridge. they whined about the tile house, they whined about the double wide, they wind up at the octagon house. and here you can see all those places including the town and east end of the past just to give you an idea of the terrain. the first place that were anybody dropped off was the tile house defended by engine 52,
captain chris vogel. this is a post by photograph of the house. at the time of the fire that rove was not complete and there was a dead bury -- debris pile a distance from the house. you will see that. but a lot has been done to make this fire safe. there's a cleared area here. you have a nice wide driveway. it's not a bad place. these are the defenders of the, the engine 52 people. that's paul jacobson, jobs richardson, erin reyes standing in front of the fire as it essentially created a moat around engine 52. this is the event. this is the fire even as it passes by the tile house. that's paul jacobs.
guys will be guys. now to me that's an awful lot of fire. but that is what it's like when you're fighting fire in southern california. normally you wouldn't need to be there, but structure protection is part of the game. by the time this happened it is certain that the firefighters who had gone down on twin pines ridge face had saved one life, and they probably had saved for lives. the first place that they got to that was inhabited was an aluminum trailer occupied by 70 secure woman who did not want to
leave. engine 52 was there. they tried talking her out of it. she had her car but she was in the middle of dinner. she had a parent. she didn't want to leave the parent, and she didn't want to go. other people showed up, a battalion chief showed up and how to talk her out of it. a guy from the water company showed up, and he knew her. they finally got her out of there, and about 15 minutes later the place was turned to liquid aluminum. it was destroyed. she made it back afterward and was filmed by a tv crew, and she went through the debris of what had been her home for a long time, and she wanted to rebuild their. and encouraging her, the only thing that was left was a statue of saint jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. her house was a loser. it was a hopeless cause. nothing anybody could do. they saved her life.
there were three people at the double wide. the fire, the water company got and the firefighter woke them up and got them going. they went out the wrong way. they went out wonder the road past the tile house with a huge rv with an suv behind it. so they're lumbering up this road, and if you have driven the, it's a terrible road. no place to turn a rig like that around, and a battalion troops stopped him and said, you can't keep going. the fire has crossed the road ahead. if you get up there you'll get trapped. they said, well, we can't turn this thing around. he said you better find out where to do. they turned it around and went back down and out past the double wide along and even worse road and made it out. so that's four people. people say, why were they there?
and, frankly, that's the first thought i had and that many people have when they go to the scene. why was anybody down there fighting this fire down there? that's one of the biggest reasons because there were people down there who didn't have telephones, who didn't have enough common sense to get out themselves and evacuated early. that's the way you do. you evacuate early. the firefighters are responsible for going down there. riverside county sheriff's office would not take their rigs down there. who's going to do it? that's who doesn't. second point is structures. they saved a lot of structures. on a normal day they would've saved octagon. this was not a normal day. so going back to the map, the action happens at the tile house as the fire is coming from the east, and it's a dribbling a long through the hills. it will make a run.
you saw what it did at the tile house, it can be fierce, but it is not moving with great speed as a consolidated firefight. sometimes i get it. but it makes runs above the tile house, one of them takes the trailer, and it's coming this way. these guys are talking to each other. you heard the amount of traffic as they pulled into the icp. there's a lot going on from a lot of different people on the radio. and the forest service guys can't get through to each other and the need to find out where they are positioned. and they need to discuss what's going on. this is normal, so they get on their own channel and do it. engine 57 has gone head to the octagon house and set up, and is in touch with engine 52 and they're talking back and forth and vogel says you can come back at this point of the. know, we've got a good spot. we're in a good place.
it's sensible. in fact, the octagon house was defensible. it had been defended before. cal fire doing a fire event in the twin pines ridge said put engines at the driveway. it had been inspected in 2002, no problems. greg have done an awful lot of work to make a defensible. meanwhile, the fire has gone past year. the fire is moving along like this. it hasn't come to the octagon house yet, but it's about to come down on the double wide where we have three engines and a pumper from the air force base. this is the action at the double wide. this is mike upton, the caretaker. they had a horse corral. they raised show dogs there. there. so that the big ten with dogs in
it. there were a lot of animal life around. that's not a good situation. it can cause panic and havoc if you suddenly have horses running through a fire crew. horses panic with fire and sword. there's some discussion about what to do about them, and richard gerhart saw that the corel they were and was a big corral. it was essentially a safety zone for the horses, or it wasn't going to be. one or the other. they're going to stay in the corral and that's what they did and here's a horse having the last laugh. the horses made. and mike upton, the caretaker smiling. but take a look behind them. you see all kinds of junk, and that's what needed to be defended. that's where you're going to set up come and that stuff can blow up. this propane tanks, every other kind of stuff. they came down to this site late in the game. there were some delays. richard gerhart fought another
fire before it went out there, a little one along the frontage road near the casino. he turned it over in good shape to cal fire and then came on a. so they're getting down here late in the day. when i say down here, it really is down. the double wide is in the bowl. this is from the bottom from the north side looking up. you see up here a road, and the road appears to be going away from the double wide. and, in fact, it does. and as long as the three engines were coming down this road going away, they're going away from the fire and they felt fine. they felt comfortable. there is a hairpin curve right about here, and the road comes down this way. they are in tight three inches, by the time to get down there than help the smaller engines which are the only ones that can get down there, the big cal fire pipelines can't make it on the road, but they are not powerful enough to get back out. this isn't nascar. once they are there, and they
are stuck once they turn around and start adding for the double wide, they begin to get worried. some people are excited. the kids in the back of the cab are saying we have a fire. and all the stuff that they say. the captains and some of the other people who have had a little more experience are thinking, this is going to get series. and infected the. the first house vacant at the double what was a mother-in-law house. it was not inhabited. the person was away at the time and the flier mailed it. house was destroyed by the fire. and they got down to the compound, and began to do triage your getting things moved away from that blue house and the blue double wide so they wouldn't catch fire, putting a sprinkle on top of the house to give yourself a little edge. and this is what was coming. and one of the things that the captains, richard gerhart and
freddie espinoza agreed upon is they would do a burnout. they would start a fire and run into the main fire. now, this is one of the most combustible places on the plan planet. and they couldn't get the backfire started. they hav had their trip george d they're trying to get it going. people see what was left of the original attempt at the backfire in just a second. but this caused some degree of anxiety. you have this thing pouring down on you and your want to run it by right into and if are you trying to start, and here's the guy trying to start it. isn't taking. it should just take off but it doesn't. eventually, they get the fire started a long in here. and here's the coming fire and here's their fire.
sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. i'm going to keep trying for a second. >> so finally it takes off. you can see what does. it's going contrary to the progress of the main fire. that's a good backfire. it is being sucked into the main fire and by the time it gets there, the two fires have burned the available fuel that goes way up as it is doing right there, and then there's nothing left for it to burn. this is the original backfire, which never got going.
talk about unpredictable events. coming, you would ask protect if you try to start a fire in southern california during a fire in chaparral you would have a good time, but that wasn't always the case. now we go back to the map. this is where the backfire was sent. richard? >> [inaudible] >> right there, right. and it succeeded. and they thought that they were having a great time and had done a good job, and richard was about to hand out at a boys when he went checking for little embers and things in this area are the horses were okay. the dog were okay. no animals were injured in this production. and he felt the blast coming up from your. and suddenly everything changed. the little embers that were around turned into fire and the whole thing was blowing up again and they didn't know quite what he was doing, but it created a
very dangerous situation. so th they called for everyone o come back to the engines for accountability so that they knew where all the people were. so when you take a breath come you're breathing in action and great. it's hot, it's dark, and you need to find out where your people are. they had some trouble finding everybody. they finally declared accountability. there is stuff on the radio. there were calls made by engine 57, by loutzenhiser at this time, very brief. it's a little chaotic. it's in the book. i'm not going to try to reproduce it because it's just snatches of stuff. but obviously things are happening down at the octagon that the people of the double wide into the thing about because they have the own problems right been. so the worst of the fire passes, the double wide.
the three engines and the bumper from march air force base wound up at the double wide because they were led to it by editor-in-chief was in charge of that branch or section of the fire, half the fun. his name is bob. this is him. when he had deposited three engines there, he left him and said i've got to go check on some lights i saw farther down the road where i don't think there should be lights, or words to that effect. he did know if there was an engine down there. he drove down and have a conversation with captain loutzenhiser that lasted about five minutes. in which they discussed the situation at the octagon that engine 57 was and. i spent an entire chapter in the book talking about that discussion. it's one of the touchiest things that happen on the eperanza
fire. there has been a lot of grief about it. i spent more effort on that chapter i think that i did on anything else. i have walked the ground with bob. i've talked to people who comment about what he said. talk to the people who are here today, who talked to bob litt directly after this. and have challenged his account of it. the account of it in chapter seven is solid. it isn't the only time bob toups is mentioned in the book. there is an appraisal of it farther on and there's some remarks about him earlier. i got an e-mail from bob toups after i had them read a book, got him one of the first copies. and he said it's fine with me. i accept what you have written. i did not expect that. i almost fell off my chair when i read it.
it's not the portrait you would want written of you, but it is as close as i can get to the truth. it's not conclusive. sometimes the truth is inconclusive, but you can apprehend. that's what i wind up with a lot of times. the only two people who know what was said there were bob toups and mark loutzenhiser, and mark is a lot with us to know what was said. and if you talk to both of them, i'm not sure how close you could get because there was misunderstanding. there was miss communication. people thought they were being understood when they were not being understood. there was history going on. but chapter seven is as close i think is in but as ever going to get at these guys, that's one of things we went over and over and over and over. this is where the talk happened, where bob is standing in front of the garage at the octagon.
he drew loutzenhiser away from his crew, which is proper, and they discussed whether he should be there. and loutzenhiser presumably explained why he was there, and bob toups left. there's a lot more to it than that but i'm not going to try to summarize years of work and an entire chapter in a couple of senses. this is the octagon house before the fire. as you can see, it is built to withstand fire. it is made of proper materials. it has a tiled roof. there is space around it. there was a pool in back of it, a swimming pool in back of it. this is the garage down below, and you see the octagon itself about it. it was billed with fire in mind. fire is inevitable. the passage of fire is inevitable and they planned on.
they didn't plan on what happened because nobody did. all right, this is a little rough. this is the area ignition seen from the tiled house a half a mile away. as you can see by now it is daylight. it's somewhere between 715 -- 7:10, 7:15 in the morning. you can also say that this is a discrete event. it is a build up of fire. it's a cylinder of fire. it's not what you think of when you think of a big massive fire front or a slowly progressing fire. it's its own thing. it is an area ignition. i will give this one to work.
but it's what i describe. what you see is this thing that is somewhere else. there's a lot of blank space between the tiles and area the a ignition. it is confined in the unnamed creek drainage. it's low. it's not running up your. it's not at 60,000 the jet. it's a cylinder that is moving along and going. the final words are it's really boiling over there. and that's after one of firefighters walks over to chris vogel who was standing next to the townhouse and he said i think i just heard a scream. and, of course, that's precisely what happened. this is the map from the fire investigation that shows the presumed travel paths of the men of engine 57 after the area ignition struck. as you can see at the top, maclean and jason mckay, there is no kabul path. they were in the direct line of
the area ignition, and they will probably drop where they stood or within a couple of steps of it. the theory, and it's not a bad one, the other three men, captain loutzenhiser, pablo and daniel were behind or near the octagon house itself. and were protected because all three of them have fairly lengthy travel paths, and two of them, captain loutzenhiser and public lived for a time after the fire. daniel was probably over on the side of the octagon or and probably went around the front. there is said to be a deer trail and bookmarks that show this. there was a propane tank down right about here.
and it's the book and it says that there was rumor of a bookmark on top of a propane tank that it couldn't be confirmed. and i confirmed it. day before yesterday with the niece, who's here tonight, who took a photograph of it and saw. so either daniel or mark loutzenhiser jumped up on top of a propane tank, probably, trying to get away from the fire and a dash of an escape attempt that failed. daniel got farther than anyone else. he was found down here by the main road below the driveway. mark loutzenhiser was out here, and pablo here. after the fire had passed by the double wide, richard gerhart and
freddie espinoza tried to walk up towards the octagon and were driven back iquique and the flames. and, finally, captain gerhart made it to the driver, and is just a few steps up their he saw what he believed to be the body of one of the firefighters and reported that on the radio and a rather dramatic fashion. and at that point pablo raised his hand, his right hand, and captain gerhart countermanded his description of what happened and said they are alive, let's get some help up here. this is the hell. they have a burn blanket over pablo. you are scared of his face. he was terribly burned, but he lived on for quite some time. if you go around that corner as captain gerhart did, you come upon the body of a living body of captain loutzenhiser.
now, they immediately got help up there. i got oxygen into him. he was able to say a few words initially, but then you have a problem of all become have two guys down, how are you going to get an out of your? are you going to put them on a big engine and bounce them out of there, which would probably be fatal? these guys are really badly burned. what about a helicopter? take a look at the smoke. if a helicopter was in the scott and captain fogle was offered a helicopter, he said no, we can't get the menu, there's too much snow. so they began to package these guys, get them ready for movement. get them onto backboards so that they can be moved. but their prospects of an effective rescue were dim at this point. until the smoke clears. there was a helicopter that was
sent to see if they could help by making water drops and doing that sort of thing. and they circle the area. as you go there and find engine 57, see what you can do about structure prevention, not knowing at that time how serious the situation was. and they flew around at least three times, maybe three and a half times and suddenly the smoke cleared. a little helicopter landed here and dropped off its crew rushed around as he was going on. and by this time two of the other three men had been found, and they have been found expired. so that the problem was getting the two guys out who were injured. it would've taken quite a while to convert the small helicopter so could carry a letter. and so that pilot pulled back up, and he's the one who took this photograph, and called in a couple of his friends, dave
patrick being one of them, he was here today, and in the kiwis to come in and affect the rescue. dave patrick was able to land. he landed on the skid marks on the small helicopter. as you can see there is a high-tech bank which is almost on to the rotors of this helicopter. and patrick took out mark loutzenhiser. this is the second phase of the rescue were a second chopper comes in and picks up pablo. as you can see, the octagon is to a ring of fire. engines are starting to show up. the first cal fire engine, one of the crewmen was frank, who is here today. who had a stunning experience which is in the book, but they
were able to get both men armed helicopters and get them out of there. known walker has described this rescue effort as vietnam like and i wrote. when i tried out on george, he said no, we do this every day. he sent me some pictures, including the picture of him from and he looks like he does every day. this is a tough customer. but this is a vietnam like. this is heroic. it did take something extra. to put a helicopternhere. under those circumstances. thanks. this was after the rescue, and it shows the people who were there trying to figure out what had gone wrong. this is engine 57, or what's left of it. there's some interesting things about engine 57.
chris hardy's mother i believe is here with us. that's chris hardy in the picture. norm walker and chris are here. richard is here. but that's the crew looking for thing over. and what's very interesting about the forensic evidence is that there are two drip torches on the ground next to engine 57 that have been kept in a compartment on the engine. the crew of engine 57 was preparing to do a burnout just as had been done at the double wide and they weren't very far along with it. it's conceivable but not very that explosions, including by this oxygen bottle.
one reason i don't believe it is that that is the law and from this -- wand from this drip torch. to get at just under one of those big caps, turned it around to it in operation that requires a human hand. i don't think you explode that out. so they're preparing the two most experienced crewmen are preparing to do a burnout. but, in fact, most of the preparation work was done at the pool. they have placed a portable pump oher into the pool. they had run a hose out from it, a line out from and put a why did on an outlines around both sides of the octagon in preparation for defending the house after fire had burned by. i was up there the day before yesterday and you can still see the marks in the concrete where the rubber from the hoses melted
into the concrete. looks like shed snakeskin. the two injured firefighters didn't make it. there was an extraordinary outpouring of work, compassion, attention that was handled by a whole separate incident and command crew, and i wound up at the memorial service at which there was a spontaneous salute. i love the faces in this photograph. i mean, you need people like that in your life. you need some people like that. this thing hit hard, and people took it in, didn't run away from this. almost 10,000 people at the memorial service. this is one of the families.
but things do change after a fire. time does pass. this is the new engine 57. it was on the third anniversary of the fire, i was driving him from idyllwild and saw and drove another mile and i said, wait a minute, that's the phoenix rising from the flames, just as life goes on there and i went back and took a photograph of it. the esperanza fire was the first time in history that united states forces service engine crew has been wiped out by a fighter. cal fire crew was wiped out in the spanish fire in the 1970s.
that's a correction that will appear in a future edition. it was not a natural event unless you regard arson as a natural event in southern california. it is certainly a common event in southern california. this is the photograph we saw earlier at the point of ignition but and this is the ignition device that was used to start the esperanza fire. a bundle of sticks matches around a marlboro cigarette. you can see that it says marla burrill, held together by a bluish green rubber band. that was the signature of the arsonist beginning on may 16, 2006. when he set three fires close together that burned barely a quarter of a group altogether this is a three fires was a, but cal fire arson squad was called out, and mike, the assistant
prosecutor for riverside county who handles arson, got a call, they knew they were going to have a long summer, that this was the beginning of a series rather than a single event. once the esperanza fire was identified as an arson fire and people were dead, it became a murder investigation. and the entire riverside county criminal investigation division or criminal homicide you know, was called a. one of the detectives by the name is scott michaels, they went to the command post down at the foot of the twin pines ridge in a safe distance away from the fire the morning of the fire on october 26. there was no way for them to get to the fire. that was very frustrating. these are homicide detective. they wanted to see the fire. that's what we do. there was too much smoke and too
many flames if they couldn't go. what you got? what you got? a cal fire arson squad have been investing this and have put up pole cameras around the banning pass four days earlier at a fire. the camera caught the car going into a dirt road, coming up six minutes later and then a few minutes later a plume of smoke went up. they got the license plate of the car but they didn't get the face of the driver. scott michaels sent in that license plate along with a number of others that have been spotted near the scene and if too late in the day do you think about. and contact information and it was alleged to an individual but rather to an auto salvage shop. so they went to the next morning, was told that the car had been sold to somebody named ray who worked out of an audible -- automobile shop somewhere else.
they went and found a ford taurus. while they're talking to this guy they get a phone call through the gas station with a guy has called raymond oyler and said the cops are looking at your car, and so he waved the phones at the cops. the cops come over and scott michaels wound up in front of raymond oyler's apartment that morning, knocking on the door, wondering what was going to happen. and when he opened the door, he, or the, opened the door. scott michaels took a look at him. and yet his sleeves rolled up like this and it was all dark and kind of ugly behind them except there was a poster on the wall of a skeleton with flames coming out of its head, hip-hop group, the insane clown posse. at all up and down his arms are
these tattoos of flames, red and black, all this junk, for slave tattoos. and michaels looked at him and said to himself, this is my guy. this is the guy who did it. he had a spiritual experience as a consequence. in fact, he had a spiritual expense while it was happening. he felt the presence of the firefighters guiding him and telling him that he was right. he needed some guidance because things got very rough at his superiors didn't believe him. they said the fire happened four days earlier. we're 275 lead. scott, we've got to get to work on the. we have better suspects, drop it. but they let him be the chief guy for raymond oyler. one of the things he did was get a dna sample. scott never made it up to the octagon house until it took in
their four years later. these books take time. took a long time for me to get in touch with scott. and he met greg, and greg always was very open and generous in sharing his place with us and allowing us to walk all over and bring back a lot of memories that you may not want to have. or they are together. and after we talked a while, scott walked off on his own and stood there looking out on the banning pass. became very quiet, which is not scott's usual moment. driving out after we left, said what did you think of it, scott? i said i understand it now. he said i understand what happened because there's a direct sidelined from the house down to raymond oyler's apartment. there's nothing obstructing. and so he had a kind of completion of his spiritual experience, which is very real to him, and when he describes it
to you, it might be very real to you. it was to me. this is mike who is now running for da in riverside county. he had a brilliant prosecution. his assistant never spoke during the trial but did a lot of the legwork. they put together an incredible case. if it hadn't been clear to the jurors that there was a story to tell, beginning on may 16 going to june, going to july, it's all connected. here are the connections, go into august, september, october. that's how they did it. they didn't like a story. if it hadn't been done, they would have lost. there was no dna on the esperanza fire's. scott michaels after having being dissed by his superiors was in a meeting a couple days after the fire, trying to hide in a corner while everybody is -- they haven't caught the guy
and their lives are evaporating. their suspects are not any good and he gets a call on the phone and he's as i got to talk to you. i many mean, i can talk to you. i've got to talk to you. so he goes outside and the two women and she says i've got two hits on dna from raymond oyler on fires in the banning pass arson series in june. scott said, remember how you just said that. i want to put you on hold and when i tell you to do it, come back on the line, say those same words. so he walks back and didn't even. everybody scream at each other, fbi is there, atf, the county sheriff'sheriff's office is thed the da, and everybody is unhappy but and he says shut up. and puts his cell phone in the middle of the table and says okay, now say it. and as soon as she said it, everybody knew that raymond oyler was their guy. and he was in handcuffs by 5:00 that night. six days after the fire.
that is unheard of in an arson investigation. nobody is there. when the thing takes off. the arsonist is long gone. how are you going to catch him? it was dark, it's at night, there's no footage, there's no camera, there's no nothing. these are the guys who did it, put it all together. and here are the captains who testified. i never like this picture because it's such a bad picture. well, it is. coming, i took it and look at chris. the sun is right in his face but i should have everybody moving to the shade, and norm walker is there in the background, and i should have had him in it, too, and i forgot to do that. it's a great metaphor. it's a lousy picture but it's a great metaphor. chris fogle, is best friends with mark loutzenhiser. take a look at his face. norm walker was in the
background. who came to the fight afterwards who very quietly explained things to me very persistent, always there, somewhat in the background. that's the story of the fire. this is raymond oyler's squeeze, crystal. this is where they lived in the apartment. very nice, blue-collar gated community. she gave him an alibi, said that he was there with her. there'd child, diamond, as in diamond strike matches, those are the ones he used. but she couldn't prove it because she wasn't there. in fact, there was transportation for him to get plenty of time to do it. he said that he was at the
casino gambling at 1:00 in the morning. i hope this never happens to you but if you ever need an alibi in a criminal case, for god's sake, don't see you at a casino when you work. there are more surveillance cameras and a gambling casino than there are at the united states pentagon. [laughter] hundreds of hours were spent by law personnel trying to find a photograph of raymond where he said he was, or anywhere else. they knew that if there was one frame with raymond in it, he could beat the charge, and there wasn't. instead, there is surveillance footage of someone known as the stranger at a shell station at the foot of cabazon peek at the appropriate time, about 2:00 in the morning. and the figure walks back and forth but you only get a friend of 15 seconds on the subject. and he talks to a guy wa who isa
guest deliveryman with one of those big trucks and gives a very detailed account of what's going on with the fire. the guy is impressed. he said i think the guy's apartment and he really knows what he's talking the. he said it's doing just what i thought it would. there they are. that is a big, hulking figure. that's the gas station guy. there's no car there. what explains the presence of this guy, 2:00 in the marine, what is he doing there? the gas station attendant, gas delivery drivers testified at the trial, and identified oyler as the person. it was never a shot taken of the face of the stranger.
there was another surveillance photograph taken of raymond oyler. he was charged with a lot of fires, but there were a couple of fires he was not charged with during the guilt session of the trial. first you have a guilt or innocence session, and one skill is decided upon you have a separate hearing to decide whether you get the death penalty. the rules are different for the death penalty here, so they brought into fires that he wasn't charged with. the day of the fire, raymond went to work in the morning, got there about 8:00. there was a fire set at about 7:30 a.m., a small and. there was no evidence that could be linked to raymond but it was a fire on this pathway in the general area of the banning pass series. then raymond got off work about 430 timeout and went to 7-11 where you can see him playing games with a blonde.
and there was a fire set seven minutes after that. in between these two events, raymond was at work as a greece monkey at an auto shop where they had cnn on all day long, according to testimony of fellow employees, with nothing on but the fire. nothing on but firefighters are dead, and this was his reaction, just so you know what you're dealing with. ..