Questions linger in Pitchess incident 

Firefighters douse a mobile shooting range at the Pitchess Detention Center after a fire in the mobile range burned several deputies. Photo courtesy of ABC7
Firefighters douse a mobile shooting range at the Pitchess Detention Center after a fire in the mobile range burned several deputies. Photo courtesy of ABC7 Los Angeles.
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Two deputies remain hospitalized more than six weeks after an explosion at Pitchess Detention Center, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department officials. 

“Both deputies are in stable condition,” according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau issued Tuesday. 

The explosion and fire in a mobile shooting range at Pitchess is still part of an active investigation by local and federal law enforcement agencies, a sheriff’s official wrote Wednesday. 

The Sheriff’s Information Bureau declined to address several questions about the conditions that led to the fire brought forth in an anonymous letter from a deputy that has circulated in the law enforcement community over the past two weeks. Among the letter’s contentions was that the trailer was awaiting a replacement from a newer trailer that had not yet been put into use due to the cost of installing an upgraded power outlet to operate it.  

The fire Oct. 10 inside the trailer serving as a mobile gun range on the grounds of the Pitchess Detention Center left two initially in critical condition.  

Shortly after the incident, Sheriff Robert Luna said the two deputies transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital were both veteran deputies — one had been with the department for 21 years and the other 17 years. 

They were later transferred to Los Angeles General Medical Center for treatment. The letter from the deputy indicated the personnel, whom the department has declined to identify, suffered major injuries in the incident.  

“The National Response Team (NRT), along with ATF Los Angeles Field Division and the Sheriff’s Arson Explosives Detail, have preliminarily determined that the nature of the fire is accidental, and the investigation is ongoing,” a statement from the Sheriff’s Information Bureau read Wednesday. 

The fire burned for nearly four hours before being knocked down at approximately 1:20 p.m., according to Craig Little, spokesman for the Fire Department, who said the fire was contained to the mobile range. 

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