For Immediate Release
ATF National Response Team Activated for Minneapolis Fire
MINNEAPOLIS — Members of the National Response Team of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, arrived in Minneapolis over the weekend to begin working with local and state partners to investigate a fire at an apartment complex located in south Minneapolis that occurred Dec. 3.
The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to reports of a fire early Saturday morning at 2312 Lyndale Ave. S. The four-story apartment complex, estimated to have sustained $1.8 million in damage, was extinguished by firefighters. Investigators from multiple agencies will work to determine the origin and cause of the blaze.
“Due to the extensive fire damage, including a partial collapse, and the size and scope of investigation, it was collectively decided that ATF’s National Response Team was needed,” said Special Agent in Charge William McCrary, of the St. Paul Field Division. “ATF’s National Response Team is a tremendous asset, and its members bring a wealth of knowledge as well as resources - all to assist local police and fire departments in large-scale fire investigations to help determine the origin and cause of the fire.”
“Investigating fires in the winter can pose unique challenges, and the National Response Team resources can help with some of those additional winter-imposed hurdles,” McCrary continued. “The team’s mission here is to collaboratively assist the Minneapolis Fire Department, the Minneapolis Police Department, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division, in the determination of the cause of the fire.”
“The Minneapolis Fire Department would like to thank the ATF and the State Fire Marshal Division for lending their extensive expertise and assistance with this investigation,” said Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner.
"Investigating a fire of this size is time consuming and requires an all-hands-on-deck approach," said Minnesota State Fire Marshal Jim Smith. "The partnership of our federal and local agencies is critical and always appreciated, especially with a fire of this magnitude.”
This is the first ATF National Response Team call-out to the State of Minnesota this year. The last call out in Minnesota was in 2020. That year, the National Response Team supported a number of fire investigations throughout Minnesota including an under construction St. Paul hotel, which was intentionally set ablaze, more than 150 arson investigations in the Twin Cities after a period of civil unrest, the Press Bar and Parlor fire investigation in St. Cloud, and a behavioral health clinic fire investigation in Grand Rapids. Prior to that, the National Response Team had not been in Minnesota since 2004.
Nationwide, this marks the second activation in the 2023 fiscal year and 893rd callout since the inception of the program.
In 1978, ATF developed the National Response Team to bring its expertise to local, state, and federal investigators to meet challenges faced at the scenes of significant explosions and fire incidents at no cost to the state or locals. The National Response Team consists of three teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist state and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in on-site investigations.
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 audit support. The teams work alongside state and local officers in identifying the origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the fire.
Further complementing the teams’ efforts are technical, legal, and intelligence advisers. Additionally, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the U.S. is available to provide logistical support.
In addition to investigating hundreds of scenes over the years, the National Response Team has activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon crash site, as well as blasts at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories, and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information about ATF, go to www.atf.gov. Follow @ATFHQ and @ATFStPaul on Twitter for updates regarding this activation.