ATF seal
ATF text
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Newark Field Division

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Contact: Walter Kudron

ATF NRT Concludes Hillsborough Veterans Industrial Park Fire Scene Examination

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) completed its fire scene investigation located at Veterans Industrial Park, 152 U.S. Route 206, Hillsborough Township. This property is owned by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and subleased to a private real estate firm.

The fire resulted in more than $50 million in damages and destroyed two buildings that encompassed approximately 500,000 square feet. The five alarm fire was extinguished with the assistance of more than 90 fire companies responding with more than 200 emergency vehicles.

Based on the scene examination and witness statements, it was determined that the fire originated in the high rack storage area of building 14 in the west side of unit C. The ignition source for the fire could not be determined and therefore the fire was classified as undetermined. There was no indication that the fire was caused by an intentional act.

The NRT and ATF Newark, New York and Philadelphia Field Divisions together with investigators from the Hillsborough Township Fire Marshal’s Office, the Hillsborough Township Police Department, the New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Inspector General investigated the fire, following up on more than 70 investigative leads and conducting more than 50 interviews.

"Investigating a fire of this size is truly a team effort," said ATF Newark Field Division Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky. "We appreciate the dedication of our federal, state and local partners working with us to thoroughly investigate this fire to determine its origin and 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 explosive and fire incidents. The NRT consists of four geographically organized teams that provide nationwide coverage. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist ATF, state and local law

enforcement/fire service personnel in on-site investigations. Each team comprises veteran special agents specially trained in 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 local ATF assets, and state and local investigators 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 explosion and/or fire.

This is the 11th NRT activation for fiscal year 2016, and the 784th since the inception of the team in 1978.

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/.

###

Field Division: Newark Field Division