Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Miami Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
October 23, 2009
Contact: SA/PIO Carlos Baixauli
RAC Orlando Felix
ATF National Response Team Activated To Bayamon, Puerto Rico To The Caribbean Petroleum Corp. Explosion And Fire
Bayamon, Puerto Rico — The National Response Team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the Puerto Rico Field Office, are responding to a reported explosion and subsequent active fire at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. (Gulf Storage Plant). The Puerto Rico Fire Department and the Police of Puerto Rico requested ATF’s assistance. ATF is part of the unified command working jointly with all federal, state and local law enforcement.
Agents from Puerto Rico Group II are coordinating the arrival of the NRT along with additional mainland agents to assist with the investigation into this explosion and fire. Once the fire is extinguished, the investigation into the cause and origin of this incident can begin. This is not the first time the NRT has responded to the island. The team was activated to investigate the Dupont Plaza fire, the Humberto Vidal Building Explosion and the Palo Seco Electrical Generating Plant fire. This is the 3rd NRT activation in fiscal 2010 and the 684th since the program began in 1978.
ATF’s National Response Team (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 assist 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; accelerant detection canines; explosives 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.
In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire and explosives scenes, the NRT trucks were deployed for the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Olympics and other major sporting events in the United States, presidential inaugurations and the national political conventions, and major international conferences.
Other agencies involved in the investigation are the PR Fire Department, Police of Puerto Rico, FBI, EPA, FEMA.
More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.