ATF official press release - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ATF official press release

ATF NATIONAL RESPONSE TEAM ACTIVATED TO ARMY J.A.G. OFFICE BUILDING FIRE

COLUMBUS, Ga. - At the request of the United States Army, Criminal Investigation Command, the National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with ATF special agents from the Atlanta Field Division, have entered into the investigation of a fire that occurred on the Fort Benning U.S. Army post. The fire occurred on Feb. 6, 2009, at the Judge Advocate General (J.A.G.) Office building. The J.A.G. office was approximately 10,000 square feet and was totally destroyed by the fire. The investigation is continuing.

The NRT arrived in town and began work at the scene today alongside military investigators in reconstructing the scene, identifying the origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to provide resources to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant fire 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 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

The teams are each 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, computer forensic support and audit support.

Further complementing the team's efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.

This will be the NRT's 13th activation in fiscal year 2009 and the 671st activation since the inception of the NRT in 1978.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov .

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