EDITORIAL: Transient Fire at City Hall, Incident Details Suppressed

*Featured *Featurette 2 min read

On Monday, September 23, 2019 at 2:49 a.m., the Sacramento Fire Department and the Sacramento Police Department responded to reports of a fire in front of the new City Hall building. When fire crews and police arrived, they found a fire on the walkway and a collapsed tent smoldering, about to catch fire, up against the building under the portico.

The fire under the walkway was quickly extinguished, however, the tent fire almost went undetected until an individual spotted it and brought to the firefighters attention as they were preparing to leave.

Rather than posting the story right away with limited information, and with no immediate threat to the community, we opted to wait till later in the day to post the story after we received information from the Sacramento Police Department's Daily Activity Log.

The Sacramento Police Department's online daily activity police log reads as follows:

19-309966 (Arson - Investigation): 900 block of I Street at 0249 hours.
Officers responded to the report of an arson in the area. Officers located a tent that had been set on fire. Fire personnel arrived on scene to extinguish the fire. There were no injuries. A Sacramento Fire Department arson investigator arrived on scene to take over the investigation.

Having being on scene and witnessing much of the incident and hearing from witnesses, we felt the log entry lacked significant details and subsequently we submitted a CPRA (California Public Records Act) request. As permitted by the act, we requested the following:

Please provide the incident report, body worn camera footage, city surveillance camera footage at City Hall related to this incident, in car camera footage, 911 calls and police radio traffic related to the incident.

CPRA requests are typically fulfilled and completed within 10 days, however, in some circumstances, laws permit an extension. Keep in mind, with all things considered, this was a relatively minor incident, not an officer involved shooting, only a couple of suspects, very few witness statements, etc.

On October 3, 2019, we received the following notification from SacPD's Government Affairs Unit:

The Government Affairs Unit has begun researching and identifying records responsive to your request. Consequently, additional time is necessary to properly respond to your request due to the volume of materials required to be searched, collected, and examined for responsiveness (permitted under Government Code 6253 (c)(2)).
We will notify you within fourteen (14) days as to whether the City is in possession of non-exempt records responsive to your request.

On October 15, 2019 we received the following in response to our CPRA request:

Please be advised that the records you have requested are investigatory law enforcement records which are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) [Government Code § 6254, subd. (f)]. Nevertheless, in accordance with the CPRA the following details may be released:
CAD Call Number: 19-309966
CAD Call Code: ARSON- IN PROGRESS
Address: 915 I ST
District: 3
Beat: 3M
Grid: 0734
Date/Time Call Received: SEP-23-2019 @ 02:49:04 HOURS
Date/Time Dispatched: SEP-23-2019 @ 02:51:04 HOURS
Date/Time En Route: SEP-23-2019 @ 02:51:30 HOURS
Date/Time On Scene: SEP-23-2019 @ 02:55:05 HOURS
Date/Time Cleared: SEP-23-2019 @ 04:58:26 HOURS
Report Flag Field: YES

Our purpose for this post is simply to let our viewers know, that while we do our due diligence to follow through and follow up on incidents of special interests; we often meet significant red tape such as this and are not able to provide additional information or updates.

transient sacramento city hall sacramento police department sacramento