ATF Team Responds to Houston Warehouse Fire

April 19, 2005

The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and ATF special agents from the Houston Field Division have been activated to assist the Houston Fire
Department in the investigation of a large commercial fire at Superior
Packaging and Distributing Co. in Houston. This is a joint investigation
between the Houston Fire Department and ATF.

Donnie Carter, special agent in Charge of ATF in Houston, said that damage to the warehouse, at 7707 Wallisville Road, is estimated at more than $1 million.

“The scene has been declared a hazardous materials environment and
investigators will need to take special precautions,” he said. “The ATF NRT is being brought in to assist because of the difficulties presented when investigating a fire of this size and to the specialties of the team members.”

ATF developed the NRT in 1978 to assist federal, state, and local
investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist state and local law enforcement / fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has
also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson.

The NRT will be on the scene of the fire beginning April 20.

This will be the NRT’s 596th activation since the inception of the NRT in 1978.

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