ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

September 17, 2010

www.atf.gov

Contact: SA/PIO Brad Beyersdorf

(202) 648-8500

ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate Cheyenne Motel Fire

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with agents from the ATF Denver Field Division have been activated by request from the Cheyenne Fire and Police Departments to investigate a fire involving the Hitching Post Inn, 1700 W. Lincolnway Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The fire occurred on Sept. 15. The team is led by Denver Field Division (FD) Assistant Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Doug Dawson and Acting Team Supervisor Nicholas Leathers, Arson and Explosives Programs Division (AEPD). The NRT will conduct an assessment of the fire scene and formulate an investigative plan with state and local investigators.

Marvin Richardson, special agent in charge, ATF Denver Field Division, said the estimated loss of the structures is in excess of $2 million. This is the first deployment of the NRT to Wyoming.

ATF’s NRT has brought definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire incidents since 1978. Since its inception, the NRT has partnered with federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at these significant fire scenes. Investigators from the Cheyenne Fire Department, as well as the Cheyenne Police Department, will jointly investigate with the NRT. The NRT works alongside its partners in reconstructing the scene, identifying the origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the fire. This is the 26th NRT activation in fiscal year 2010.

The NRT is organized into three geographic regions covering the United States. The 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 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 plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations. The NRT is also deployed to support the safety and security of major sporting events in the United States, presidential inaugurations, national political conventions and major international conferences. Since its inception, the NRT has been activated more than 700 times.

The responding NRT component typically has 13 to 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; intelligence support, computer forensic support and forensic audit support. Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. A fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States provides 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.

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