Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Columbus Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2009
Contact: Special Agent Kim Riddell, ATF PIO
Shane Cartmill, PIO Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal
Fire At Highcom Inc. – Wolfden Was Intentionally Set
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), ATF Columbus Field Division, the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal, Norwich Fire Department and Hilliard Police Department have completed the on-scene investigation into the cause of the May 24 blaze at the Highcom Inc. – Wolfden commercial structure located in Hilliard.
Christopher P. Sadowski, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Columbus Field Division; Donald Cooper, Interim State Fire Marshal; Chief Dave Long, Norwich Fire Department and Chief Rodney Garnett, Hilliard Police Department announced that the blaze was ruled arson. Specific information regarding the fire and investigation will not be released as the investigation into the criminal act is continuing.
Investigators have ruled out accidental causes for the fire. The team of investigators have taken photographs, recovered potential evidence from the scene for laboratory analysis and conducted over 25 interviews throughout the community. The ATF NRT departed has Hilliard.
“Combining federal, state and local resources resulted in an expeditious determination of the fire’s origin and cause. The information developed by investigators was reviewed and analyzed to assist in determining the cause of the fire. Columbus ATF agents will continue to work side by side with local police and fire investigators to investigate this crime,” said Sadowski.
“The cooperation of all the agencies involved in this case was very important,” said Cooper. “Investigators worked together to quickly determine the cause of this fire and we will continue to work together to try to find those responsible for this crime.”
The Division of State Fire Marshal has posted Blue Ribbon Arson reward sign at the property. The Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible for the fire. Anyone with information is asked to call the State Fire Marshal’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Bureau at 1-800-589-2728.
ATF’s NRT, comprising ATF personnel from across the country, responded to the scene to work alongside state and local investigators. The NRT includes a canine team, certified fire investigators, forensic chemist, electrical and fire protection engineers, and additional specialists. This NRT activation was the 16th this fiscal year and 674th since the 1978 inception of the NRT program.
More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.