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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Louisville Field Division

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Contact: SSA/PIO George Huffman

ATF NRT Concludes Investigation of Grand Hotel Fire

HAZARD, Ky. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Hazard Fire Department and the Hazard Police Department announced the preliminary findings in the Grand Hotel fire.   The investigative entities have deemed the status of this incident as undetermined.  The investigation is ongoing in the effort to identify the cause for the fire. 

Last Thursday, the NRT joined the fire investigation of the old Grand Hotel building fire, which occurred early Tuesday Sept. 1.  The building houses apartments for approximately 50 people, the Peking Chinese Restaurant, a tattoo shop and a cellphone store along with adjacent buildings which sustained substantial damage from the fire.  

The NRT team, led by NRT Team Supervisor Christopher Porreca, arrived on-scene, and began the investigation Thursday.

The NRT, along with ATF special agents from the Louisville Field Division responded and assisted in the investigation along with the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Hazard Fire Department, the Hazard Police Department, Avawam Volunteer Fire Department, Jakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department and Viper Volunteer Fire Department.      

"ATF is committed to working with state and local partners” said ATF Louisville Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Peter A. Pappas.

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 arson 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, electrical engineers, 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 13th NRT activation in fiscal year 2015 and the 771st since its inception.  Currently there are two ongoing NRT activations in Louisiana and South Dakota.

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.

More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.

 

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Field Division: Louisville Field Division