Graeme Craddock Testimony on Waco Fire

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Graeme Craddock Testimony on Waco Fire
October 1999 civil suit deposition regarding April 19, 1993 fire at Branch Davidian home and church


C.A. NO. W-96-CA-139
and consolidated actions:
VS. Holub v. Reno W-96-CA-140
Ferguson v. Reno W-96-CA-141
PHILLIP J. CHOJNACKI, Brown v. U.S. W-96-CA-142
Riddle v. Reno W-96-CA-143
Gyarfas v. U.S. W-96-CA-144
Defendants. Martin v. U.S. W-96-CA-145
Holub v. U.S. W-96-CA-146
Brown v. U.S. W-96-CA-147
Sylvia v. U.S. W-96-CA-373


October 29, 1999

Volume 2 _____

ORAL AND VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITION of GRAEME CRADDOCK, produced as a witness at the instance of the Plaintiffs, and duly sworn, was taken in the above-styled and numbered cause on the 29th of October, 1999, from 8:53 a.m. to 3:47 p.m., before Holly P. Burns, CSR in and for the State of Texas, reported by machine shorthand, at the Federal Correctional Institute, 1507 East Whatley Road, Oakdale, Louisiana, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the provisions stated on the record or attached hereto.

Job No. 44486

p. 210 1 A P P E A R A N C E S

Mr. Joe Phillips
4 Caddell Chapman
1331 Lamar, Suite 1070
5 Houston, Texas 77010-3027
Mr. D.M.A. (Dave) Hollaway
7 Associate Director
CAUSE Foundation, Inc.
8 12227 F.M. 529
Houston, Texas 77041
10 Mr. James H. Brannon
Law Offices of James H. Brannon
11 5847 San Felipe, Suite 1450
Houston, Texas 77057
Mr. James G. Touhey, Jr.
14 U.S. Department of Justice Torts Branch
15 Civil Division
National Place Building, Room 8058
16 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
17 and Ms. Elizabeth R. Beers
18 Federal Bureau of Investigation Civil Litigation Unit
19 J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
20 Washington, D.C. 20535

22 Mr. Stanley Rentz
Law Offices of Stanley Rentz
23 506 Franklin
Waco, Texas 76701

25 Mr. Sean Morella, the Videographer

p 254

9 Q. What did you observe the people doing in the

09:51 10 chapel?

11 A. Most of the people, I think, were -- had gone

12 into the back point after this -- this is after the,

13 the, the vehicle had sprayed its thick cloud into the

14 chapel. Most of the people had left the chapel area

09:51 15 and gone to the back.

16 I think there was Raymond Friesen, which

17 was beside, beside me. I don't recall exactly what he

18 was doing. I remember I, I got the water bottle from

19 him to wet the rag.

09:51 20 Across any of the central -- or on, on

21 the other side of the chapel was Pablo Cohen; and he'd

22 just finished screaming out, "Wait. Wait" telling

23 this other guy not to pour all the fuel inside, poor it

24 outside. There was a conversation he, he then had with

09:52 25 whoever was pouring this fuel. Then --

p. 255

09:52 1 Q. All right. You, you described people going

2 into the gym, and, and then they would exit the gym to

3 escape gassing from the gym area; is that correct?

4 A. I don't know if they were gassing the gym area

09:52 5 or, or whether they were just trying to escape the

6 possible path of this vehicle where they were concerned

7 they were going to get run over by the vehicle, but --

8 Q. The vehicle that was operating behind the gym?

9 A. Yes.

09:52 10 Q. Okay. Now, you described earlier the movement

11 of fuel cans; is that correct?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And you participated in that?

14 A. Yes.

09:52 15 Q. And you observed other people doing that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. What were your reasons for moving the fuel?

18 A. We didn't want the vehicle running over the

19 fuel cans that were in the, the entrance to the chapel.

09:53 20 Q. Okay. And, and why were you concerned about

21 that?

22 A. Well, if the vehicle came in and ran over the

23 fuel, then it would spill fuel everywhere, which would

24 be a, a fire hazard, plus the fact that I think fuel

09:53 25 was a valuable commodity, not that I -- I don't know if

p. 256

09:53 1 we actually used some of that Coleman fuel, or whatever

2 the fuel was. I -- the main fuel that I took -- looked

3 after was the fuel for the diesel generator, and that

4 was in the machine shop.

09:53 5 Q. Did anyone -- who was assisting you in moving

6 the fuel?

7 A. There was, I think, Pablo Cohen. I'm not

8 certain as to who the others were. I, I just can't

9 picture their faces right now; but I know there were

09:53 10 other people there.

11 Q. Did any of them state to you why they were

12 participating in moving the fuel?

13 A. No.

14 Q. Okay.

09:54 15 A. I think it was pretty much obvious the purpose

16 of moving the fuel if you're seeing the vehicles come

17 and wanted to get them out of the way.

18 Q. Okay. Do you recall Floyd Houtman helping you

19 move the fuel?

09:55 20 A. No, I don't recall.

21 Q. What about Wayne Martin?

22 A. I think Wayne was there, but I don't recall.

23 Q. What about Derek Lovelock?

24 A. I remember seeing Derek Lovelock there, but I

09:55 25 don't recall him helping.

p. 257

09:55 1 Q. What about Clive Doyle?

2 A. Clive Doyle was there, but I don't recall

3 Clive -- whether he did or didn't.

4 Q. Okay. For these people, you just can't recall

09:55 5 whether they helped --

6 A. No.

7 Q. -- or not?

8 A. I, I know there were other people helping

9 then; but I just can't picture these people's faces --

10 Q. All right.

11 A. -- as I was moving the fuel.

12 Q. Okay. And where was the fuel placed?

13 A. On the front edge of the chapel. I'd say it

14 would be the southeast side of the stage. I think some

09:55 15 was put along the southeast wall, chapel wall.

16 Q. About how many can, cans of -- well, first,

17 what size were these cans?

18 A. These were one-gallon cans.

19 Q. And about how many are we talking about?

09:56 20 A. I think there was about maybe a dozen cans

21 along that front area. I think I might have grabbed

22 about three of them.

23 Q. Why was that location chosen to place them?

24 A. Well, it was away from where the tanks were

09:56 25 coming in at that stage. I put them on the front of

p. 258

09:56 1 the, the stage so -- I thought that would be the

2 easiest place if we needed to move them again. If you

3 put them back further in the -- onto the stage, you'd

4 have to jump up on the stage, which would have made it

09:56 5 difficult. So, I put them at the front so if you

6 needed to grab them from below, that would be easy. If

7 you needed to grab them from the -- on the stage, you

8 could do so there. So, it was the most accessible

9 point.

09:56 10 Q. Okay. Did you observe any damage to any of

11 the stairwells?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Okay. But you had situated yourself in the

14 chapel by what time?

09:57 15 A. I, I first moved there by about 11:30. I

16 think I was -- had a brief stint upstairs; and after

17 moving the fuel, I'd say about 11:45 I was -- stationed

18 myself against that, that northwest wall.

19 Q. So, after 11:45 you did not leave the chapel

09:57 20 until you exited the chapel to go into the cinder block

21 building below the water tower; is that correct?

22 A. There was a brief time I went towards the gym,

23 then came back, then left out through the window, then

24 ultimately into that cinder block building.

09:58 25 Q. But other than that, you didn't leave the

p. 259

09:58 1 chapel --

2 A. No.

3 Q. -- prior to exiting it to go to the cinder

4 block building?

09:58 5 A. No.

6 Q. Okay. Now, at some point you hear people

7 talking about fire; is that correct?

8 A. That's correct.

9 Q. Okay. Now, would you recount those statements

09:58 10 for us in chronological order and, and -- well, sorry.

11 Just please do that.

12 A. I'm just trying to remember the exact time it

13 was. This would have been after the last penetration

14 when the vehicle came into the building where its boom

09:59 15 came to the end of the bleachers. After I heard Pablo

16 scream about not pouring fuel inside, maybe about a

17 minute after that, I heard a voice from -- coming from

18 upstairs direction through the ceiling of the chapel

19 back -- well, actually it would have been the front

09:59 20 part of the -- towards the front part of the building,

21 that is, which is the back part of the chapel.

22 Q. This is the area --

23 A. Yeah.

24 Q. -- over the seating?

10:00 25 A. Yes.

p. 260

10:00 1 Q. Okay.

2 A. It was at the rear of the chapel. Some of the

3 ceiling tiles had been removed and you could see up

4 through the ceiling into where the opening was into the

10:00 5 hallway above the stairs and I could see and hear Mark

6 Wendel call out the building was on fire.

7 Q. How many times did you hear him say that?

8 A. I heard him say that twice.

9 Q. Okay. Did he say it twice at that point, or

10:00 10 did he say it once and then state it again at some time

11 later?

12 A. He said it once; and then about two minutes

13 later, he said it again, the building was on fire.

14 Q. All right. Please continue with the

10:00 15 description of what you heard.

16 A. Shortly after his second call that the

17 building was on fire -- I'm not certain exact period of

18 time. It may have been about 30 seconds later -- he

19 said -- another call came and said, Light the fire.

10:01 20 That was the point I left the chapel.

21 Q. Okay. I'm going to show you what I'll

22 represent to you is a portion of your testimony before

23 the grand jury, Page 12, Lines 10 through 20. Would

24 you read that into the record, please?

10:01 25 A. Someone said -- sorry. This is an answer:

p. 261

10:01 1 Someone said the building was on fire. It sounded

2 like to me someone said, 'Light the fire.'

3 Then there was a call back, 'What fire?

4 Where?'

10:01 5 And the next call I think I heard was,

6 'Don't light the fire.'

7 That's when I left the church area. I

8 went back into the gymnasium. I was probably only

9 there for about half a, half a minute. Then when I

10:02 10 came back, the southern wall facing the power station

11 was alight. Anyway, the Coleman fuel containers were

12 there. I think some of the fuel had been spilled. I

13 don't think there was any accident or otherwise.

14 Q. I'm sorry. Could you read that last --

10:02 15 A. I don't think it was any accident or

16 otherwise.

17 Q. Okay. I'm going to ask you to reread that

18 last sentence again.

19 A. Okay. I'm sorry. I don't know -- sorry.

10:02 20 I don't know whether it was accident or otherwise.

21 Q. Okay.

22 A. Sorry.

23 Q. Now, do you recall giving that testimony

24 before the grand jury?

10:02 25 A. Not those specific words, but I remember being

p. 262

10:02 1 before the grand jury.

2 Q. You don't, you don't have any reason to

3 disagree that this is your grand jury testimony, do

4 you?

10:03 5 A. No.

6 Q. Okay. Now, does this refresh your

7 recollection as to what you heard on April 19th?

8 A. To some extent, yes.

9 Q. Okay. All right. Let, let's just see if we

10:03 10 can, we can get this clearly stated on the record. The

11 first thing you hear regarding fuel or fire is Pablo

12 Cohen saying, Don't pour it -- well, I don't want to

13 put words in your mouth.

14 The first thing you hear regarding fuel

10:03 15 or fire is a statement by Pablo Cohen; is that correct?

16 MR. TOUHEY: Objection to form.

17 Q. (BY MR. PHILLIPS) Well, let me ask the

18 question this way: What's the first statement you hear

19 when you're in the chapel about fuel or fire?

10:03 20 A. I think he said, Wait. Wait. Don't pour it

21 inside. Pour it outside.

22 Q. Okay. And who's saying this?

23 A. Pablo.

24 Q. Okay. And, and what do you see when you, when

10:03 25 you hear him say that?

p. 263

10:03 1 A. I saw Pablo rushing towards someone that was

2 near the front of the bleachers on the other side of

3 the chapel, and they appeared to be pouring fuel on the

4 floor.

10:04 5 Q. Okay. Now, what is the next statement you

6 hear regarding fuel or fire?

7 A. There was some conversation between Pablo and

8 the guy pouring the fuel, and I don't recall exactly

9 what it was about. I don't think I heard all the

10:04 10 conversation; but at, at the time, as I said, I had a

11 problem with my own gas mask. So, I didn't really pay

12 too much attention to what was being said.

13 Q. Let me ask you this: Did the person who was

14 pouring the fuel stop pouring the fuel?

10:04 15 A. I think they initially did, yes.

16 Q. Okay. All right. Now, what's the next

17 statement you hear about fuel or fire?

18 A. I think it was when Mark Wendel called down to

19 say the building was on fire; and as I said, about two

10:05 20 minutes later he called down again and said the

21 building was on fire.

22 Q. All right.

23 A. And then there was a short break and he called

24 back again and said, Light the fire.

10:05 25 Q. All right.

p. 264

10:05 1 A. Pablo, Pablo, in return, said --

2 Q. Let me -- if, if this will refresh your

3 recollection, let me again show you Page 12, Lines 10

4 to 20 of what I represent is your grand jury testimony.

10:05 5 A. According to what I said back in the grand

6 jury, there's a callback that says, What fire?

7 Where? The next I heard was, Don't light the fire.

8 You know, I don't specifically re --

9 recall hearing those statements. I -- there was some

10:06 10 conversation between Pablo and Mark Wendel, and I'm not

11 certain exact -- certain of the exact words that were

12 used. So, when I gave these statements to the grand

13 jury, I was thinking I was -- I gave what I thought he

14 gave, but I wasn't exactly certain. I'm not exactly

10:07 15 certain the exact words that Pablo used or the exchange

16 that occurred, but I do recall something -- there was

17 some con -- conversation between Pablo and Mark Wendel,

18 and the effect of that conversation was simply to wait

19 and to find out.

10:07 20 Q. Well, would you agree that your memory at the

21 time of your grand jury testimony was, was, regarding

22 this conversation, was better than it is today?

23 A. I'd say so, yes.

24 Q. Okay.

10:07 25 MR. TOUHEY: Objection to the form of the

p. 265

10:07 1 last question.

2 Q. (BY MR. PHILLIPS) All right. What's the --

3 did you hear any more statements about fuel or fire

4 after this exchange between Pablo Cohen and Mark

10:07 5 Wendel?

6 A. Not that I can recall, no.

7 Q. Okay. At this point you exit the chapel and

8 go into the area between the chapel and the gym?

9 A. Yes.

10:08 10 Q. Okay.

11 A. I went back to the, the wall of the gym.

12 There was another hole in the back of the gym

13 somewhere. It might have been under the stairway that

14 led upstairs.

10:08 15 Q. And who was with you?

16 A. There were quite a number of people back

17 there. I can't recall now specifically the -- who

18 exactly was, was there; but I just know there were

19 other people back there.

10:08 20 Q. Do you recall Clive Doyle being with you? 21 A. I recall seeing Clive Doyle that morning. I

22 re -- when I was in the chapel, I recall Clive Doyle

23 coming out from back, behind that area behind the

24 chapel; and he later went back into that area behind

10:08 25 the chapel.

p. 266

10:09 1 Q. All right. And then you went back into the

2 chapel; is that correct?

3 A. Yes.

4 Q. Okay. And then what did you see when you went

10:09 5 back in?

6 A. The chapel was alight. There was a fire in

7 that -- well, I guess it would be the eastern corner of

8 the chapel. It was along the southeastern wall and

9 part of the northeastern wall all up on the stage area.

10:09 10 The fire was up -- all the way up the wall; and it was,

11 in part, traveling along the ceiling, the suspended

12 ceiling tile.

13 I recall the heat from the fire. It was

14 quite intense. Even though the entrance, or opening in

10:09 15 the back of the chapel was on the other side of that

16 stage area, I could feel the heat. It was quite

17 intense from that fire.

18 Q. All right. And what did you do at that point?

19 A. I started to head up towards the back of the

10:10 20 chapel. I was going to try and get up to -- upstairs

21 to find out what was happening up there because Wayne

22 Martin and Pablo were in front of me, and they looked

23 like they were heading up that direction.

24 I decided it was going to take them too

10:10 25 long to get through; and if I did go up there, there

p. 267

10:10 1 was a chance I may not be able to get back down again.

2 So, I decided to leave by, by the window.

3 Q. All right. Okay. I'm going to show you what

4 I'll represent to you is another portion of your grand

10:11 5 jury testimony and ask you to read this into, into the

6 record. This will be Page 13, Lines 1 through 23.

7 A. You want me to read the whole section?

8 Q. Yes, please.

9 MR. TOUHEY: I'm going to object to --

10:12 10 why don't you have him read the --

11 MR. BRANNON: Where are we talking about?

12 MR. TOUHEY: You're saying from Line 13,

13 1 down to where?

14 MR. PHILLIPS: Through -- to the first

10:12 15 word on Line 23.

16 MR. TOUHEY: Why don't you have him read

17 all the way to Page 14, Line 9.

18 MR. PHILLIPS: Well, you can have him do

19 that, if you'd like. I'm just interested in the fire

10:13 20 at the moment.

21 Q. (BY MR. PHILLIPS) Would you please read that,

22 Mr. Craddock?

23 MR. TOUHEY: I object.

24 A. Question: You say, you say not at that

10:13 25 stage. What did you see next? Did you hear any other

p. 268

10:13 1 calls at that time?

2 Answer: I cannot remember anything

3 specific that was said; but people were calling out in

4 various -- in varying stages of panic, you might say.

10:13 5 Question: And what happened next as far

6 as what you saw or what you observed or what you did?

7 I remember walking back into the chapel

8 area, and the fire was starting to -- I, I recall start

9 to feel the -- I could start to feel the heat from the

10:13 10 flame. I then looked out the window. I noticed it was

11 smoking outside. I looked out the window and what

12 Sorry. Question: You looked out the

13 window and what?

14 I looked out the window on the north

10:14 15 side, which was where I was before, and I noticed smoke

16 outside and then --

17 Question: Now, what would you have been

18 near the kitchen area -- sorry. Now, would you have

19 been near the kitchen area, right?

10:14 20 MR. TOUHEY: No. Now, that would have

21 been near the --


23 MR. TOUHEY: -- kitchen area?

24 A. Sorry. Now, that would have been the kitchen

10:14 25 area, right? Okay.

p. 269

10:14 1 Answer: Yeah, that's correct.

2 Question: Was there smoke coming from

3 the kitchen area at the time, or do you know where the

4 smoke originated?

10:14 5 Answer: I couldn't say where the smoke

6 was originating from. There was smoke everywhere, and

7 that's when I hopped out.

8 Q. (BY MR. PHILLIPS) Okay. Before you --

9 MR. TOUHEY: I would object because he

10:14 10 should be able to continue with the answer that he

11 gave.

12 Q. (BY MR. PHILLIPS) Okay. You -- okay. Before

13 you exited the chapel, you looked out one of the UU

14 windows, which we've marked as UU on Craddock 1.

10:15 15 Which window were you looking at?

16 A. It would have been the, the one closest to

17 Steve Schneider's room --

18 Q. All right.

19 A. -- furthest away from the gymnasium.

10:15 20 Q. All right. And what is it you saw when you

21 looked out that window?

22 A. This was when there was fire in the chapel?

23 Q. Yes.

24 A. I saw smoke billowing from the -- I don't know

10:15 25 if it was the gymnasium area or the -- David Koresh's

p. 270

10:15 1 room area. There was a lot of smoke around.

2 Q. What would have been David Koresh's room area?

3 A. It was the area above the area behind the

4 chapel, or the stage area, on the stage of the chapel.