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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Contact: John Ham, ATF Public Information Officer

ATF NRT Activated to Investigate Senior Living Facility Construction Fire

Des Moines — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived on-scene Wednesday to join agents from the Des Moines ATF Office in investigating the fire that caused destroyed the Riverview Ridge Senior Living Facility in Rock Valley, Iowa.

On July 2 at approximately 6:00 in the morning, the Rock Valley Fire Department responded to Riverview Ridge Senior Living Facility, 712 Westview Drive and found the structure engulfed in flames. The fire resulted in several alarms and destroyed the building that was under construction, resulting in an estimated six million dollar loss. ATF National Response Team members are working with the Rock Valley Fire Department, Rock Valley Police Department and Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the cause.

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 explosions and arson incidents. The NRT consists of four 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 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.

This is the 13th NRT activation this fiscal year and the 845th activation since the inception of the NRT in 1978.

In addition to investigating hundreds of scenes, the NRT has 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, West Texas explosion, 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 and follow @ATFHQ on Twitter.


Kansas City Field Division