Waco Unraveling No. 5
Ian Goddard has provided us some information on some far-fetched theories.
Outpost of Freedom
September 29, 1999
In Ian Goddard"s original presentation of Gordon Novel"s "The Concrete Tomb - Bomb" theory, he presents a very plausible explanation of the tactics used by the FBI (and others?) in entrapping women and children inside of what the FBI had described as a "bunker". The bunker was, in fact, the old "vault" in which the records of the Davidians had been kept when the building surrounding it was the Church office. A fire destroyed the building and caused a collapse in the ceiling of the vault, probably as a result of the high heat generated by the original fire, among other factors.
Subsequently, when the more recent Church building was constructed, it was built around the old vault. Materials for the new Church were comprised of the materials salvaged from the twelve houses that once existed just North of the building we became so familiar with in 1993. The vault was incorporated in the design and was located just off of the kitchen, within the four story tower. It was used as a sort of pantry/cooler for the storage of vegetables and other foods.
One of Novel"s theories revolves around an explosion that occurred during the fire that consumed Mt. Carmel Center, Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993. As Goddard begins his presentation of the Novel Theory, he cites both Gordon Novel and Brigadier General Benton Partin (Ret.) He begins his demonstration of the theory with the following:
"A primary feature of Novel"s bomb theory is the large fireball that appeared during the fire. When the concrete room is superimposed in its exact location over the following FBI photograph of the fireball, we can see that the fireball originated exactly on top of the room."
This, he supported with the following image:
Goddard has imposed his perceived location of the "cooler" (base of the four story tower) in this image. He explains that the explosion is from the "exact location" of the "concrete room".
The location used by Goddard may have the building located directly under the explosion, however a review of other sources of information might lead one to conclude that the explosion came from behind the tower, and, perhaps, off to the side, slightly.
This image is from the Texas Rangers. The tower can be seen just below and to the left of the arrow,. The tower abuts the back of the main portion of the building. On the roof at the two story tower on the left, you can count ten rows of roofing material. These same ten rows of material can be seen, and counted, in Goddard"s image. This gives us a fair representation of the back edge of the main portion of the building.
This image, from the Waco Tribune, was taken long before the raid. In this view, the uniqueness of the architecture is apparent. The difficulty in placing the base of the tower, without this perspective, can be understood.
Given the mislocation of the building, as demonstrated by Goddard, one can understand that the explosion was probably behind the building rather than from within. Had the explosion occurred inside, it is doubtful that, with all of the weight above the explosion, the blast would be as directed upward as it appears.
Goddard continues: "General Partin observes that this is "the kind of hole you get with a demolition charge. You have concrete in contact or close proximity to high explosives and the pressure is several hundred times the yield strength of the concrete, so the concrete in the area of the hole is turned to dust, and you have ... dynamic gas pressure going down into the "bunker" below.""
A demolition charge is a high explosive charge. It is a very rapid blast with very little gaseous explosion. The enormous flame of gaseous material in the Goddard image is very inconsistent with what would be anticipated from a demolition charge. In fact, it would appear that the explosion is much more similar to an ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil) bomb than a demolition charge. This is the same lifer retired military officer that told us that this type of explosion could not damage the Murrah Building. But, then, I have always had a problem with those who have spent their lives working for government, and then, while continuing to receive their monthly retirement check, cross the line and join the patriot cause. (see "Bo Gritz and Waco")
Other conclusions reached by Goddard have merit. The government did destroy evidence of what occurred. The BATF, who have a checklist to use when investigating any fire or explosion scene, failed to abide by their own rules. The Texas Rangers were kept from the scene until a large amount of demolition had occurred, including, probably, the relocation of a number of bodies.
With all of this, however, we are still left without an explanation of what occurred to generate such an explosion. This was not a question that was overlooked by those of us who were in Waco that fateful day. My first opportunity to advance the question was with Rita Riddle. She had been moved to jail from the Salvation Army Half Way House early on the morning of the Nineteenth. (see " No, Gary, That was God"s Will") When we were discussing what had occurred earlier in the day, I asked Rita about the explosion. She suggested that it was probably the Propane Tank behind the kitchen. Clive Doyle has, since, confirmed the location of the propane tank.
Now, the question remains -- What caused the hole in the roof of the vault? There may be more than one factor which resulted in that particular damage. Some conditions that existed include:
- Large amounts of material from the third and fourth floor which would have, when the floors collapsed, fallen on the roof of the vault. Whether there were any extremely heavy objects, or not, I have not been able to determine.
- There were two truck batteries set on the second floor directly over the vault. These batteries may have exploded. If this occurred after the floors collapsed, the weight and surface areas of the floors may have helped to direct the blast downward.
- There may, also, have been some explosives stored at the location by the Davidians. gunpowder grenades, etc., which could have exploded from the fire.
To conclude that the "government did it" solely because the idea appeals to our senses does not override the absence of concrete evidence to support that conclusion. I applaud Mr. Goddard for his exposure of the errors in Novel"s theory.
Return to Waco Unraveling No. 5 -- Misleading Claims