ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2009

www.atf.gov

Contacts:

Chuck Gulley (706) 621-2377

ACC Fire & Emergency Services

Marc Jackson (404) 886-8096

ATF

Georgia Theatre Fire Investigation Concluded

No Evidence of Foul Play Discovered

ATHENS, GA — The Athens-Clarke County Fire & Emergency Services Department; along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office; have concluded the fire investigation at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia. The fire occurred on Friday, June 19, 2009. Following suppression efforts the incident resulted in the response from Athens-Clarke County Fire Marshal investigators, Athens Clark-County Police Department detectives, Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office investigators, special agents of ATF’s Atlanta Field Division and members of ATF’s National Response Team (NRT).

Chief Iby George, of the Athens-Clarke County Fire & Emergency Services Department, said, “The cultural significance of the Georgia Theatre and the resulting impact that this fire has had on our community was not lost on its public servants. All concerned parties can be assured that each and every available resource has been employed to investigate this tragic loss.” Chief George expressed his appreciation for the multi-agency effort that was displayed over the past week and to owner Wilmot Greene for his cooperation throughout the investigation.

Dondi Albritton, special agent in charge of the ATF NRT deployment, advised that the investigation to date, has uncovered no indication of foul play or criminal activity that may have contributed to the cause of the fire. Albritton said, “The investigation to date, has uncovered no indication of foul play or criminal activity that may have contributed to the cause of the fire. It is the opinion of all investigators that the area of origin of the fire is the dressing room and storage closet located in the northwest corner of the structure. Due to the extensive fire and water damage in this area, all possible accidental ignition sources could not, at this time, be eliminated as the cause of the fire. The official determination of the cause of the fire at this time will be “undetermined.’”

SAC Albritton and Chief George noted that a finding of undetermined does not mean that a fire investigation is closed. If information is developed in the future to indicate or warrant further investigation, this initial finding can be changed.

Albritton continued, “The fire fighters, emergency responders and investigators who answered the call are to be commended for an outstanding job. This region continues to demonstrate the highest level of dedication and performance in their public service commitments.”

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

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