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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 14, 2017
Contact: John Ham, Public Information Officer

Investigators Conclude Scene Phase of Investigation at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant Explosion

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with Investigators from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, have concluded the on-scene phase of the investigation in to the fatal explosion at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.

On Tuesday, April 11, at approximately 12:57 p.m., the Lake City Fire Department responded to an explosion in the primer mixing area of the plant. The explosion killed one plant employee, injured four, and caused significant damage to the primer production area. The Lake City plant manufactures ammunition used by all branches of the U.S. Military.

Working with its investigative partners, ATF NRT members spent the past three days investigating the cause and exact origin of the explosion. Investigators did an extensive scene examination and conducted interviews with first responders and plant personnel.

While the investigation into the exact cause of the explosion is ongoing, investigators have determined the explosion was non-criminal in nature.

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 explosion/arson.


Kansas City Field Division