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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Contact: Lisa Meiman

ATF National Response Team Arrives to Assist Apartment Development Fire Investigation in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. — A specialized fire investigation team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived in Oakland, California, today, to assist with investigating a five-alarm structure fire that occurred at about 5 a.m. Monday morning.
About 25 special agents and other experts with the National Response Team (NRT) were activated at the request of the Oakland Fire Department (OFD) to join the investigation of a fire that destroyed an apartment complex development at 317 Lester Ave. in Oakland.  
Over the next several days, certified fire investigators and other experts will work alongside local investigators to sift through debris, reconstruct the scene, collect evidence, conduct interviews and attempt to identify an origin and cause of the fire.  
“Our highly experienced investigators conduct thorough and methodical investigations based on the scientific method. They approach all scenes with an open mind and no preconceptions,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Debbie Livingston. “The NRT’s presence here is investigative in nature to support Oakland Fire Department.”
NRT and OFD are also working closely with Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Fire Investigation Task Force.
ATF is the sole federal agency with experience and resources to investigate fires and crimes of arson in the U.S. and its territories. The primary mission of the NRT is to concentrate ATF explosives and fire investigative resources and expertise on large-scale and complex incidents due to the size, scope or number of victims. 
Since its inception in 1978, the NRT has deployed 798 times. This is the first call out for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, which began Oct. 1. NRT deployed 25 times in FY 2016, which spanned Oct. 1, 2015-Sept. 30, 2016.
The City of Oakland is protected by the nearly 450 fire service professionals of the Oakland Fire Department. The OFD is comprised of eight  divisions, including: Fiscal and Administration Services; Emergency Management Services Division; Medical Services Division; Fire Prevention & Support Services Bureau; and the Field Operations Bureau. The Operations Division responds out of 25 Fire Stations, located throughout the City and the International Airport, operating a fleet of 24 Engines, seven Trucks, and numerous other special operations, support, and reserve units throughout three Battalions. The OFD responds to approximately 60,000 emergency calls annually, with over 80 percent being emergency medical services calls.
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