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Lawyer Of Fallen Firefighter’s Family Calls Arson Claim “A Ruse”

By Jack Douglas Jr. & Ginger Allen | CBS 11 News |
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Ginger Allen
Ginger is the Senior Investigative Reporter of the CB...
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - The family of fallen firefighter Stan Wilson is challenging the city of Dallas’ claim that it is keeping an investigation under wraps because of an ongoing arson investigation.

“Frankly, I believe this is nothing more than semantics being used as a ruse to hold the report,” attorney Barry Hasten said in a letter sent to the Dallas Cit Attorney’s Office.

Hasten also challenged the city to “prove me wrong,” by having the lead investigator of the purported arson investigation contact him.

More than a year after his death, Wilson’s widow, Jenny, hired Hasten to force the city to release its findings into what happened that day, May 20, 2013, when her husband was ordered back into a burning building moments before it collapsed.

CBS 11’s I-Team has been investigating the fatal fire for months, and has been told by Wilson’s fellow firefighters that the building was too dangerous to re-enter, especially after it had already been searched and cleared for trapped victims.

Hasten sent a “demand letter” to Dallas Fire Chief Louie Bright two weeks ago, saying the city owed it to Jenny Wilson and her two young sons to tell them what led to Stan Wilson’s death – including who issued the order and why.

Instead, the city of Dallas responded by saying – as it had much earlier in the investigation – that they would not release any information because of an active arson investigation.

“I don’t buy that. It’s just been too long,” Hasten told the I-Team. He said he was concerned that the city is slow in releasing any investigative report because of what it says.

“If we end up getting a watered-down version of the report …I want to see the progressions of those opinions …and how those corrections were made …and how they got to where they got,” Hasten told the I-team.

Bright has not spoken publicly about the investigation into the fire that killed Wilson. A department spokesman, Joel Lavender, sent the I-Team a statement saying the report “has not been completed.”

Lavender went on to say in his statement that the “primary goal of this report is to facilitate learning from this tragic incident, in order to reduce the likelihood of future accidents…”

And he predicted that, once the report is completed and made public, it will “offer to the entire fire community the highest-quality learning product possible.”

Meanwhile, Stan Wilson’s family just wants closure, Hasten said.

“Jenny’s torn up about it, and has been, obviously,” he said. “And, again, she just wants to know.”

If you want to reach CBS 11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at jdouglas@cbs.com. If you want to reach CBS 11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her at gingera@ktvt.com.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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