Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
New York Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
November 25, 2009
Contact: Joseph G. Green
ATF Special Agent, PIO
(718) 552-1602 (office)
(646) 529-8354 (cell)
ATF National Response Team Activated To Investigate Strip Mall Fire In Rochester
Origin And Cause To Be Focus At Ridge-Clinton Plaza
New York — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the New York Field Division have been activated by a request from the Rochester Fire Department Arson Bureau to investigate a fire at the FAMILY DOLLAR located at 1731 North Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY. The fire occurred just before noon on Monday, November 23, 2009. The team of about 20 agents and specialists started the scene investigation this morning. Several local ATF agents have been onsite since the fire.
“ATF along with the Rochester Fire and Police Departments are investigating this fire”, said Ronald B. Turk, ATF special agent in charge of the New York Field Division. “We will work together to determine the origin and cause of this fire, and if criminal in nature work closely with our partners to bring those responsible to justice.” He estimates total loss of the businesses to be in excess of $3 million. This is the 4th activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2010, and the 685th activation since the inception of the team in 1978.
Aside from being placed on standby during the Republican National Convention in 2004, this is the first activation of the NRT in New York State since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993.
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to investigate in partnership with federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with state and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in onsite investigations.
In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the above mentioned 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, the Atlanta, Georgia Olympic bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.
The teams are each composed of 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; intelligence support, computer forensic support and forensic audit support. The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson.
Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.
NRT team supervisor Christopher Porreca talks to the news media about the fire at the Family Dollar store.
ATF’s National Response Truck and personnel on the scene of the fire at the Family Dollar store in Rochester, NY.