ATF National Response Team Responds to Ala. Warehouse Fire

February 22, 2006

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), at the request of Tuscaloosa, Alabama Police Chief Ken Swindle and Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service Chief Alan Martin, announced the activation of its Northeast National Response Team (NRT) to investigate the Feb. 17 warehouse fire in Tuscaloosa.

The fire, which occurred at 10:40 p.m., caused approximately $1.5 million in damage to the 14,000 square foot building at 912 29th Avenue.

Although the NRT has been used predominantly to assist in the investigation of commercial fires, it has also been activated to the scenes of criminal bombings such as the Oklahoma City Bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories, and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

Each team is composed of veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support; and computer forensic support and audit support.

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 Tuscaloosa Police Department, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Marshal, Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office, and ATF are investigating the fire.

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