For Immediate Release
ATF National Response Team Deploying to Plainfield, Indiana to Support Walmart Fire Investigation
Investigators Looking into Massive Fire at Distribution Center
INDIANAPOLIS — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) joined the investigation into the fire at the Walmart Distribution Center located in Plainfield, IN. The fire started just prior to noon on Wednesday, March 16.
The team, led by NRT Supervisor Christopher Forkner, arrived and received a team briefing yesterday, and began the on-scene investigation today.
The NRT, along with ATF special agents from the Indianapolis Offices of the Columbus Field Division responded with Plainfield Fire Territory, the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Plainfield Police Department.
“ATF has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in investigating the cause and origin of fires,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Timothy Canon of the Columbus Field Division. “We bring a unique set of skills to the scene to assist our state and local partners.”
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to bring its expertise to federal, state, and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant explosives and fire incidents. The NRT 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 onsite 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 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 the bombing/arson.
Further complementing the teams’ efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisers. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.
This is the 10th NRT activation in fiscal year 2022 and the 885th since its inception.
In addition to investigating hundreds of scenes, the NRT has also been 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. The NRT was most recently in Indianapolis to assist with the investigation into the 2012 Richmond Hill neighborhood explosion.
More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.