Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Houston Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2009
Contact: Franceska Perot, Ph.D.
ATF Special Agent, PIO
(281) 372-2908 (office)
(281) 914-8124 (cell)
Or Elias Bazan (956) 661-7930 (office)
Fire at Fort Ringgold School Intentionally Set
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Houston Field Division Special Agent in Charge Dewey Webb and Deputy State Fire Marshal Raymond Garcia announced today the completion of the on-scene investigation of the January 13, 2009 fire that severely damaged a large section of the Fort Ringgold Middle School in Rio Grande City. They jointly announced that the blaze was ruled arson but were unable to release additional details as the investigation was on-going.
The ATF National Response Team (NRT) and the South Texas Arson Response Team (START) completed their scene work yesterday.
The investigators conducted in excess of 30 interviews and fully processed the scene Webb said
The information developed was reviewed and analyzed to assist in determining the cause and origin of the fire.
Webb further committed local ATF special agents to continue the investigation with local and state officials until the individual(s) responsible are brought to justice. The State Fire Marshal, ATF and the START are all members of the South Texas Fire Investigators Association.
We will continue to work in partnership.
ATF developed the NRT 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.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating major fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.