ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 28, 2009

www.atf.gov

Contact: Special Agent Kim Riddell

ATF Public Information Officer

(330) 360-2063

ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate Highcom Inc. – Wolfden Fire

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with agents from the ATF Columbus Field Division, entered the investigation of a large structure fire occurring May 25 at Highcom Security, Inc., and Wolfden Products in Hilliard. The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal (SFM) requested ATF’s expertise in this investigation. The NRT arrived in Hilliard yesterday and will begin its on-scene investigation today.

Christopher Sadowski, special agent in charge, ATF Columbus Field Division, said that the structure located at on Lacon Road was severely damaged. Early estimates of damages are in excess of $5 million.

Less than a year ago, the NRT was deployed to the central Ohio area. In September 2008, the NRT was activated to investigate the fire at the Mason’s Furniture Store fire in Circleville.

ATF’s NRT has brought definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents since 1978. Four regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States, comprise the NRT. The team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with state and local law enforcement or fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

The responding NRT component normally has 13-18 members, including veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; explosives and accelerant detection canines; and intelligence, computer forensic and audit support. A fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States provides logistical support.

ATF’s partnership with federal, state and local officers is vital to the most effective processing efforts at an explosives or fire scene. The NRT capitalizes on that by working alongside its partners in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or the origin of the fire, conducting interviews and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion or fire.

The NRT has been activated to investigate hundreds of large fire, explosives and bombing scenes including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. In addition to fire and explosives investigations, the NRT is deployed to support the safety and security of major sporting events in the United States, presidential inaugurations, national political conventions and major international conferences.

This is the 16th NRT activation in fiscal year 2009 and the 674th since the program began in 1978. Investigators from the Ohio Division of SFM, Northwest Area Strike Team, Norwich Fire and Hilliard Police Departments are jointly investigating the fire with ATF.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.

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