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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Contact: Special Agent/PIO David Cheplak

ATF activates National Response Team to Silver Spring, MD

SILVER SPRING, Md. - The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division requested the activation of the ATF National Response Team (NRT) to assist and support the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) in the investigation of a fatal apartment fire that occurred at an apartment building in the 8700 block of Arliss Street in Silver Spring, Md.

The ATF NRT’s primary mission is to concentrate ATF explosives and fire investigative resources and expertise on large-scale incidents, or on more complex investigations due to the size, scope or number of victims as a result of the incident. The NRT provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, typically deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and the most qualified ATF personnel available

Agents from the ATF Baltimore Field Division’s Arson and Explosives Group have been on scene since the onset of the incident and have been assisting with the ongoing investigation. The group comprises several specialists to include Certified Fire Investigators (CFI’s), highly trained special agents who provide technical support, analysis and assistance in fire origin and cause determination for arson investigation. ATF CFI’s are a field division’s primary resource in fire and arson-related investigations.  Additional personnel on-scene include ATF Explosives Enforcement Officers, Certified Explosives Specialists, and an Accelerant/Explosives Detection Canine team.  The NRT will supplement the ATF Baltimore Field Division with additional personnel to include forensic mapping specialists, fire protection engineers, electrical engineers and forensic chemists.
In addition to the Baltimore Field Division and the NRT, the expertise of ATF’s U.S. Bomb Data Center, the ATF Forensic Science Laboratory and the ATF Fire Research Laboratory are available to contribute to fire, arson and explosives investigations.

“The ATF will make available all of our specialized resources as we work hand-in-hand with our local counterparts in Montgomery County to help determine the origin and cause of this morning’s tragic event,” said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board.

Since its inception in 1978, the NRT has deployed 794 times. This is the 22nd call out for Fiscal Year 2016, which began Oct. 1.

Past NRT activations include such incidents as an explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people in 2013; the spree of 10 arsons at churches in Texas in 2010; a commercial fire in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine firefighters in 2007; and national-level incidents such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon; the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta; the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

For more information on the ATF NRT team and its capabilities, please visit


Baltimore Field Division