WACO, Texas - A U.S. district judge's courtroom and other parts of the federal courthouse that was the site of a lawsuit in the Branch Davidian siege were gutted by flames during a renovation project.
The fire apparently began in the three-story downtown building's attic Thursday night and burned through the roof in at least four places. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Stephen Reveile, project director for subcontractors A&R Demolition Inc., said he and a co-worker tried to put out the fire but the flames spread too fast.
''We were gutting the building anyway, but we were saving the historical parts like the judge's courtroom and the lobby,'' said Reveile. Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. said the courtroom was a total loss.
The 65-year-old courthouse was vacated in August. Courthouse staff moved into a building in downtown Waco, and trials have been conducted there.
The courthouse was the site of last year's $675 million wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco. About 80 people died when the compound burned during the raid.
Waco, FBI and the Branch Davidians: Updates
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