The concrete room, which the government and news media inappropriately called a "bunker," did not collapse as the coroner said, nor did it contain sufficient debris to cause suffocation of the occupants.  Photo credit CNN, published with the caption: "FBI agents investigate a bunker that survived the blaze that leveled the rest of the compound on April 23, 1993."  Click to expand.

In The Collapsed Bunker that Wasn't a Bunker Didn't Collapse, we saw photos that showed the concrete room did not collapse, but suffered damage to the roof from an unknown device.

Recall that President Clinton, Attorney General Reno, and on-site FBI agents had publicly accused David Koresh of child abuse.  They claimed that the Davidians started the fire and murdered each other with guns.  Nine Branch Davidians had survived the fire of April 19.  Arguably, one or more of them was guilty of these crimes.

Top forensic experts were on hand from the Smithsonian Institution.  To recall Dr. Ubelaker's words, "A smart detective knows how much may be learned from the environment in which a body has been found."  Thirty-three people had allegedly died in the concrete room, and nine more bodies were found on the roof.  If ever there was a crime scene, the concrete room was it.  With 250 law enforcement officers sifting through the ruins each day, there was no shortage of staff to handle the crime scene and the bodies in accordance with established and time-proven procedures.

But let's turn to Sgt. Raymond Coffman, the Texas Ranger in charge of the crime scene in the concrete room, to find out what happened instead (full text of Sgt. Coffman's testimony).

Spent Cartridges Fill Concrete Room

Sgt. Coffman testified that the concrete room was filled with three to four feet of exploded ordnance—not concrete debris from a non-existent structural "collapse."  He describes the interior:

Sgt. Coffman: "Initially, the problem we had with the interior of it, there was probably three to four feet of exploded ordnance, weapons laying around and that sort of thing, so we had to literally use shovels to shovel through the door to get — to make a way in there, where we could start uncovering other items.  The problem there was, every time you'd pick up a shovel, it was sort of like sand, more would fall into place, so it took quite some time before we could get to the first weapons."  (Transcript, pg. 902)

Sgt. Coffman said it was impossible to count the expended shells by hand.  A five-gallon scoop was used to gather the shells, and the shells were then counted.  Three such scoopfuls of spent shells were gathered and counted, and an average number arrived at for the three scoops.  The Rangers then kept track of how many five-gallon scoops it took to empty the concrete room of shells.  By this method, the Texas Rangers estimated that there were 400,000 spent cartridges in the concrete room.  (Transcript, pg. 905)

Wooden Crates Of Ammunition Survived Fire

Sgt. Coffman: "After we started digging down through some of the cooked-off rounds, we started coming upon on these wooden crates that were lined up.  As you can see, they are just — we had to pry that up with a shovel, and these are full.  Like this particular box here (indicating) is some of the rounds I talked about that are still in their original container.  Those are 20-round boxes there … Those were still live." (Transcript, pg. 922)

Tight Fit

Trial testimony reveals that live ammunition was found in the room, including .22 caliber, 9-millimeter, .45 caliber, .223 caliber, 7.62x39mm, and .50 caliber (several thousand rounds in original containers) (Transcript, pg. 905); and 133 weapons, including 69 AR-15 types, 12 pistols, 11 shotguns, one M-1, two M-4s, one grenade launcher, two .30 caliber carbines and one .30-caliber 30-30 carbine (Transcript, pg. 907).  Towards the end of his testimony, Sgt. Coffman put the final count of weapons at 133 (Transcript, pg. 958).  At least one live grenade was found in the concrete room (Department of Justice Report (pg. 310); Sgt. Coffman in his testimony (pg. 903) said "grenades" (plural).

But the diagram of the first floor of the Mt. Carmel Center made by ATF informant David Block, the Dumb Diagram published in the Treasury Report, on page 47— clearly labels the concrete room as a pantry area.  The words "dry food" "ref." and "food storage" are clearly marked on the diagram (Dumb Diagram of Mt. Carmel: First Floor).  How could ATF informant Block have missed the 400,000 rounds of ammunition stacked in wooden boxes along with grenades, grenade launchers, machine guns, etc.?  Recall that a number of undercover agents had infiltrated the Mt. Carmel Center before the raid, switching the phone receivers into listening devices and installing fiber optic cables into the walls.  Surely one of them might have noticed an arsenal in the pantry.

Our conclusion?  There was no arsenal in the pantry/concrete room before the raid of February 28.  Indeed, there was no mention of the room and its usage during the siege.  But right after the fire and the possession of the property by the US troops on April 19, the room underwent a transformation.  It was instantaneously a "bunker " and an arsenal—and a mausoleum.

The concrete room measured nineteen by twenty feet; the walk-in refrigerator, which measured eight feet by four feet, contained only water (Transcript, pg. 957); therefore, the space in which the 400,000 spent shells, the wooden boxes of unused ammunition, and the various 133 guns/grenades/rocket launchers were situated measured twelve by fifteen feet.  Yet we are asked to believe that 33 or 43 people (see below) crowded into this space to seek protection from the C/S gas attack.  (Transcript, pg. 902 and 903.)

Perhaps this is the place to mention that the US took Draconian measures to make sure no unapproved persons got too close to the ruins immediately after the fire.  The Dallas Morning News on April 21, 1993 (pg. 27A) reported that planes were prohibited from flying closer than 8,500 feet over the ruins.

Reporters have not been allowed within about two miles of the compound.

The spokesmen said a photographer from The Associated Press and another from the Houston Chronicle were arrested and jailed Wednesday on a charge of interfering with the duty of a police officer, a misdemeanor, for trying to sneak into the compound grounds.  Officials said the photographers got within 3,000 yards of the burned buildings.

Rick Bowmer, 37, an AP photographer based in Houston, and Kerwin Plevak, 42, of the Houston Chronicle, were released on $1,200 bond.  Police confiscated their film. (The Dallas Morning News, April 22, 1993, pg. 26A.)

On the night of April 19, under the cover of darkness, the US would have had an opportunity to move the contents of several arsenals into that protected site.  For persons reluctant to believe our government would fabricate evidence, the Museum recommends a review of the Testimony of Frederic Whitehurst concerning the World Trade Center bombing case.

Little Debris in the Concrete Room

Defense attorney Tinker asked if there was a lot of debris mixed in with spent cartridges.  In response:

Sgt. Coffman: A little bit.  I wouldn't call it "a lot."

Mr. Tinker: Well, as you went about — as you went about, would you say that 25 percent of it was rubbish?

Sgt. Coffman: Oh, no, sir, I wouldn't say near that amount was rubbish. (Transcript, pg. 939.)

Forty-three Bodies, Not Thirty-Three Bodies

Sgt. Coffman said he supervised the removal of 43 bodies—not 33 bodies—and that those bodies were buried or partially buried in spent cartridges (Transcript, pgs. 953, 948, and 958).

Asked if the 43 bodies were buried underneath the burned-out cartridges, Sgt. Coffman said that the majority of them were so buried. 

Sgt. Coffman: "There was five or six that were partially uncovered that you—well you really wouldn't—unless you knew what you were looking for, you wouldn't know it was a body.  Having done this before, I knew what they were …" (Transcript, pg. 955).