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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Kansas City Field Division

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Contact: John Ham, ATF Public Information Officer

ATF National Response Team Deploys to Fatal Fire in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City, Mo - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) arrived last night and will begin the scene investigation today at the fire that destroyed the businesses and apartments at 2608 Independence Ave.  Two Kansas City Firemen were fatally injured while battling the blaze.

Two dozen ATF special agents and specialists with the National Response Team (NRT), as well as special agents from the Kansas City Field Division were activated at the request of the Kansas City Police Department to join in the investigation.  Kansas City Police Department Bomb and Arson Unit, the Kansas City Fire Department, and the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office are all participating in the investigation.  The fire was reported at approximately 7:24 p.m. Monday.  The Fire Department found fire and heavy smoke upon arrival. 

The total loss of the building is estimated at $2 million.  This is the second NRT activation of the 2016 fiscal year (which started Oct. 1) and the 775th since the inception of the team in 1978.

The primary mission of the NRT is to concentrate ATF explosives and fire investigative resources and expertise on large-scale incidents, or on more complex investigations due to the size, scope, or number of victims as a result of the incident.  The NRT provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, typically deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and the most qualified ATF personnel available.

The NRT works in conjunction with other investigators to reconstruct the scene, identify the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, and determine the cause.  In the case of bombings and arsons, NRT members gather evidence to support criminal prosecutions.  A deployed team is generally broken down into two components: a group that processes the scene and an investigative-lead element.  In the course of the overall investigation, both components coordinate daily to ensure investigative continuity.

The NRT is composed of veteran special agents, including certified explosives specialists, certified fire investigators, forensic mapping specialists, accelerant and explosives detection canine teams, explosives enforcement officers, fire protection engineers, electrical engineers and forensic chemists.

Past NRT activations include such incidents as an explosion in West Texas that killed 14 people in 2013; the spree of 10 arsons at churches in Texas in 2010; a commercial fire in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine firefighters in 2007; and national-level incidents such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon; the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta; the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The NRT’s resources include a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States that allow the NRT to be self-contained for the forensic examination of explosives and

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson.  More information on ATF can be found at http://www.atf.gov.

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Field Division: Kansas City Field Division