People familiar with the Branch Davidians say the Mount Carmel compound has underground rooms and a crawl space leading from the cult leader’s bedroom to another room.

Cult leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, has a bedroom above the compound’s chapel, according to Australian detective Geoffrey N. Hossack.

The crawl space leads from the bedroom to a new “tower” structure.

Hossack is an Australian detective hired in 1990 by former Australian cult members to investigate the group and try to alert authorities in America about Howell’s alleged activities.

Hossack said the group buried a bus, used as an underground bunker, left of the kitchen area, which is near the front of the compound. Another source, who didn’t want to be identified, confirmed the location of the underground bus.

The source also said that the underground firing range was supposed to be to the right of the compound behind the chapel, which is to the back of the main building.

Hossack said that the property has changed since 1990, when many small, old houses dotted the compound grounds.

The compound had a “security post” at the main entrance off Double EE Ranch Road and numerous buildings scattered to the right of the main compound, which had a two-story building, a chapel and concrete vault.

By Dec. 14, 1992, Howell had cleared the brush from the property and demolished some of the houses, he said.

“I understand there was some sense of urgency” in demolishing them, Hossack said.

An Oregon musician who said he visited the compound late last year told the Associated Press it was run like an army camp with a mess hall, gymnasium, small rooms with bunk beds and a firing range. The compound also had a large band room that served as a chapel with risers, church pews, a stage and musical equipment, the man said.

Federal authorities unsuccessfully tried to storm the compound Sunday to serve Howell with an arrest warrant and search for illegal weapons. Seven people died in the attempt, leaving authorities in a standoff with the cult.

So far, authorities have not cut electricity to the building the size of a city block on 77 acres of Central Texas farmland.

Walt Pierce, general manager of Navasota Valley Co-Op, said his company has given agents equipment to cut off outside electric power to the compound. But about two years ago, Davidians hooked up their own generators and photos show they appear to have solar panels, as well, he said.

FBI agent Jeffrey Jamar said Thursday that the Davidians have a stockpile of military meals.

Their water comes from wells, and the women normally go out each morning and pour water into a cistern-like structure that supplies water throughout the house.

Tribune-Herald staff writer Drew Parma and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram contributed to this story.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.