For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Contact: Office of Public Affairs
ATF International Response Team to Investigate St. Lucia Quarry Explosion
Field Division: Headquarters
WASHINGTON – ATF’s International Response Team (IRT) Team Supervisor Paul Claflin and a lead certified explosives specialist will arrive on the Island of Saint Lucia today to assess the March 21 explosion scene that occurred at the Rayneau Quarry. The explosion killed three and injured more than 20 individuals, and resulted in significant damage to the site including numerous structures, vehicles and construction equipment. The remaining members of the IRT will arrive on Wednesday, March 29, and begin the scene documentation and examination.
The offices of the Director of Forensic Science Services and Director of Public Prosecutors of Saint Lucia requested ATF’s IRT on March 24, 2017, through the Department of State, to assist in the criminal investigation.
ATF’s IRT traveling to St. Lucia will consist of 10 members and conduct a post-blast scene investigation, including scene reconstruction, interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion. The team will work in close coordination with the Royal St. Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
The ATF IRT is composed of veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise, forensic chemists, explosives enforcement officers, fire protection and electrical engineers, accelerant detection canines, explosives detection canines, intelligence support, computer forensic support and forensic audit support. Each team assembled and deployed is designed to best accommodate the specific incident.
The IRT travels abroad to investigate large-vehicle bombings, provide technical support in the disassembly of improvised explosive devices, and to provide investigative oversight at post-blast explosion scenes and large-scale fires that result in massive loss of life or property loss estimated in the millions of dollars.
Past ATF IRT activations include the Las Cascadas mall fire in El Salvador in early 2015, a prison fire in Comayagua, Honduras, which killed more than 350 inmates in 2012, and an Albanian ammunition depot explosion in April 2008 that killed 26 people, wounded approximately 400 others, and destroyed or damaged more than 4,000 homes and businesses.
This is the 14th activation of the National Response Team for fiscal year 2017 and the 40th activation of the International Response Team since the inception of the program in 1978.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information about ATF go to www.atf.gov.