For Immediate Release
ATF NRT Activated In Joint Fire Investigation of 28 Unit, Multi-Family Condominium Complex
NEW ORLEANS — Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Constance Hester of the New Orleans Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), today announced the activation of ATF’s National Response Team (NRT) to join the investigation of the Sep. 6, ACT X Condominium Complex fire, at 4504 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell, La. The complex is a two story, 28 unit, multi-family building. The fire is estimated to have caused more than $1.5 million in damage. ATF has joined the investigation with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the St. Tammany Fire Protection, District No. 1, and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“ATF’s NRT was activated at the request of our state and local partners, and we have fully committed our fire resources to thoroughly examine the origin and cause of the fire,” said Hester.
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to assist federal, state, and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams strategically located throughout the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to join state and local law enforcement/fire personnel in onsite investigations.
The responding NRT component includes 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 forensic audit support. Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. A fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States provides logistical support.
The teams work alongside state and local investigators in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conduction interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the incident.
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, 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. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.