Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Denver Field Division
For Immediate Release
February 18, 2014
Contact: SA/PIO Brad Beyersdorf
Salt Lake City Fire Department
Public Relations Jasen Asay
Fire at Apartment Building Intentionally Set
SALT LAKE CITY.– The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Salt Lake City Fire Department have completed their on-scene investigation into the cause of the apartment building fire, at 550 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT. The fire was reported at approximately 5:57 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2014.
After five days of extensive scene examination and multiple interviews, investigators have ruled the cause of the fire to be incendiary. The factors resulting in the finding of incendiary are not being released due to the ongoing investigation.
“Part of ATF’s core mission is to prevent, detect and to deter the criminal use of fire,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, Luke Franey. “ATF will continue to dedicate our unique fire investigative expertise to this and other violent criminal investigations in order to protect the citizens of Utah and ensure the safety of our communities. ATF would also like to thank the Salt Lake City Fire Department and Salt Lake City Police Department for their outstanding cooperation and participation in this investigation.”
“We're grateful for, and indebted to, the NRT for the support and collaborative nature in which they've supported this investigation," said Salt Lake City Fire Chief Kurt Cook. Given the severity and significant financial impact of this incident, the attention to detail and precision of investigation cannot be understated. I applaud the commitment and resilience demonstrated by everyone involved in this investigation for the successful apprehension of a suspect in such a remarkable timeframe. The joint service greatly benefitted Salt Lake City and the residents who we are sworn to protect.”
The apartment building is approximately 64,000 square feet and damage to the structure is considered a total loss. The damage is currently estimated at $6 Million and no injuries were reported from the fire.
The NRT has brought expertise and advanced forensic equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents since its inception in 1978. This is the 3rd activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2014 and the 750th since the program began.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating major fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.