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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Los Angeles Field Division

For Immediate Release

Monday, December 8, 2014
Contact: Contact: Special Agent Meredith K. Davis

ATF National Response Team Activated To Investigate Apartment Fire in Downtown Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) are responding to the Los Angeles area to join in the investigation of a fire that occurred at 900 West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles. The team will join the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and Los Angeles ATF agents who have been on scene since early this morning. Assistant Special Agent in Charge John D’Angelo and Team Supervisor Daniel Heenan will lead the ATF effort.

The first report of the fire occurred just after 1 a.m. Monday morning. The 200 x 900-foot-long, seven story apartment building was under construction. More than 250 LAFD firefighters contended with a 1.26 million square foot structure. In addition to the structure itself, three nearby high-rise buildings were damaged. There were no reported injuries.

Carlos A. Canino, special agent in charge, of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division stated, “We will partner with the Los Angeles Fire Department and provide our expertise as a force multiplier to determine the origin and cause of this fire.”

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 four teams organized geographically 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.

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 recently responded to help determine the origin and cause of a fire that occurred at Extra Storage Space in Venice, Calif. This morning’s fire will mark the teams’ forth activation of fiscal year 2015. This is the 763rd activation of a NRT. The last activation was in St. Louis, Mo.

The teams are each composed of 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. 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 bombing/arson incidents.

Further complementing the team's efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully-equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide 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. More information about the LAFD can be found at www.atf.gov/los-angeles-field-division.

 

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Field Division: Los Angeles Field Division