Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
New Orleans Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
September 14, 2010
Contact: Senior Special Agent Austin R. Banks
Cell: (504) 329-1443
ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate Scott Warehouse Fire
Scott, La. — National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the New Orleans Field Division have been activated by request from the Scott Fire Department and Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate a fire that occurred at Advance Products and Systems, located at 108 Asset Avenue, in Scott, Louisiana. The fire occurred on September 12. The NRT will arrive today to conduct an assessment of the fire scene and formulate an investigative plan with state and local investigators.
The fire scene consists of eight (8) warehouse buildings with a combined area of approximately fifty thousand square feet. Several of the buildings are completely destroyed. No deaths or injuries were reported.
ATF is investigating the fire jointly with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Scott Fire Department, and the Lafayette Fire Department. We will work together in partnership to determine the origin and cause of this fire, said Phillip Durham, ATF special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Division. He estimates total loss of the business to be approximately $6 million.
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 one team administratively organized into three geographic regions 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.
The responding NRT component typically has 20 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; 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. In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire and explosives scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing operations. The NRT is also deployed to support the safety and security at the Olympics and other major sporting events in the United States; presidential inaugurations and national political conventions; and major international conferences.
This is the 25th activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2010. Since its inception, the NRT has been activated more than 700 times.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information on ATF’s programs, please visit the website at www.atf.gov