Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bush Home Damaged by Arson

From the Odessa American (read the full story here. )

Bush home in Odessa, Texas damaged by fire --
Officials say arson was cause
2007-12-28 07:41:00

Bush Home Officials say someone set the Bush home on fire.
"Mark Knox [an Odessa florist and businessman - DK] worked so hard to restore a window on the restored Bush home behind the Presidential Museum that the window frame is named after him. The window appears undamaged, but much of the house’s front entryway and living room aren’t after an early Thursday morning fire — already named as arson — damaged the historic home located on East University Boulevard, officials said.

'There is no reason for such a thing,' Knox, 76, said of the arson attempt. Firefighters were called to the restored Bush home at 3:04 a.m. Early investigation shows the fire likely started on the front, concrete porch near the wooden doorway, Odessa Fire Marshal Detra White said.

A fire destroyed part of Knox’s flower business’ property once, but the Bush fire angered him more because it was intentional, he said. Knox sanded that window. He puttied it. He sanded it more and more, trying his best to make sure the historic home was able to keep as much of its original materials as possible. So the window is known as the Mark Knox window.

Knox put maybe 50 hours of volunteer work into the modest home. So did many other members of Odessa’s Rotary Club. It was a community affair to ensure Odessa didn’t lose what many consider a piece of the community’s history, Knox said.

Investigators had no suspects in the fire late Thursday, White said, and she expects the case to take some time because investigators have so much to consider. Arson is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The fire spread inside the home, damaging the green carpet inside the living room, the mid-20th century radio console near the door and the ceiling. Much of the porch roof is burned, and smoke damaged the ceilings throughout the home. The Bush family photos in the northwest bedroom were not damaged.

The green house with white trim is a modest example of mid-20th, post-World War II home construction. It’s two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and the living room. It’s furnished with a Christmas theme all year long, based on 1948 Bush family photos. Lettie England, museum administrator, said 500 volunteers put effort into restoring the home, which belonged to former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, when they lived in Odessa. President George W. Bush also lived inside the home as a child. The Bush family moved here in 1948 from New Haven, Conn. The house originally sat at 916 E. 17th St., before it was moved to be part of the Presidential Museum’s permanent exhibit.

A representative of George H.W. Bush’s office said the president and Barbara are deeply saddened to hear about the fire, but they declined to be interviewed."
And there's more. The ATF has been called in to investigate whether the arson was politically motivated.......

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