CLAIM

The FBI was on its way to a residence owned by the Clintons when a fire destroyed a room full of servers and hard drives.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

On 3 January 2018, a small fire broke out on a property owned by Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, and was quickly extinguished:

A fire broke out Wednesday at property owned by Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, N.Y., authorities said.

The flames erupted in the ceiling of the second floor in a Secret Service structure behind the Clintons’ home, a Secret Service spokesman told Fox News.

He said the Clintons were not on the property at the time. No injuries were reported.

The fire naturally sparked a series conspiracy theories and claims that the blaze was somehow suspicious and that it was related to some sort of criminal activity. The Last Line of Defense, a repeat fake news offender, put up an article appearing to report (falsely, like everything else on the site) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on their way to the Clinton compound with a warrant when the fire broke out:

FBI Special Agent Scott MacTaggart has confirmed to Fox News that he and his team were on their way to serve a warrant on the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, New York when they got word that a fire had broken out. Their mission was scrubbed and they were sent back to Manhattan to regroup.

Conspiracy theory dabblers YourNewsWire.com went a step further, claiming without offering any proof whatsoever that the fire had destroyed a room full of computer servers:

A room full of servers and hard drives was destroyed in the Clinton house fire in Chappaqua, New York, on Wednesday, according to a Chappaqua Fire Department source, raising fears that incriminating evidence against the Clintons has been destroyed just days after a White House insider warned that Trump was preparing to prosecute their crimes.

“I saw smashed up hard drives, melted memory cards and the charred remains of paper scattered all over the room and immediately knew the fire must have started there,” a Chappaqua Fire Department source told local news reporters, explaining that the house fire was “put out by Secret Service agents” before the Fire Department arrived.

The Last Line of Defense article can be debunked by simply glancing at the disclaimer at the bottom of any page that labels all its content as “satire.” The site (now TheLastLineOfDefense.online, previously TheLastLineofDefense.org) also has a long history of publishing misinformation and states on its “About” page that everything it publishes is fiction.

YourNewsWire.com lacks credibility for different reasons: It frequently uses dubious tactics to promote conspiracy theories that have little to no basis in reality. In this article, for instance, they quoted a “Chappaqua Fire Department source” about the alleged destroyed servers. However, they did not provide any verifying information (such as the name of the outlet) or a link to the original report. We also found no record of this quote in any legitimate news articles, indicating that someone most likely fabricated this quote out of the whole cloth.  

Your News Wire also included a photograph purportedly showing the equipment that was destroyed in the fire, but the image was not taken at the Clinton’s residence in New York; it was originally published in an article about data recovery for California fire victims on the company web site of Kroll Ontrack:

Although YourNewsWire.com does not carry a disclaimer explicitly stating that its content is either fiction or misinformation, its writers do include a message excusing themselves from any responsibility for “inaccuracies” in their articles:

The information, software, products, and services included in or available through the site may include inaccuracies or typographical errors.

[…]

The People’s Voice, Inc. and /or its suppliers make no representations about the suitability, reliability, availability, timeliness, and accuracy of the information, software, products, ervices and related graphics contained on the site for any purpose. 

The fire at the Clinton residence did not destroy a roomful of servers and it did not impede an investigation by the FBI. It actually took place in a facility for the Secret Service that is not connected to the Clinton’s main residence, and it was likely caused by a faulty bathroom fan:

A bathroom fan caused the fire that burned part of a building on the Clintons’ property in Chappaqua on Wednesday, New Castle Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein said today.

“Apparently a bathroom fan shorted out,” he said in an email on Friday.

The small fire burned a hole in the bathroom ceiling of the facility, which is used by the Secret Service, at 15 Old House Lane, Greenstein said. The Chappaqua Fire Department declined to comment.

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