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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Kimberly Nerheim
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 4, 2023

ATF National Response Team Joins Chicago Fire Department in Fire Investigation

CHICAGO – The Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requested ATF’s National Response Team join the investigation into a fire that occurred Tuesday early morning that claimed the life of a Chicago Firefighter and where two others sustained nonlife threatening injuries at 12015 South Wallace in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood. 

NRT members will arrive in Chicago today to assist the Chicago Fire Department and other partners in the investigation to determine the cause and origin of the blaze. The NRT consists of a team of Special Agents, Certified Fire Investigators, Fire Protection Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Forensic Chemists, Certified Explosives Specialists, an Intelligence Research Specialist, a Medic and an Accelerant Detection Canine with handler.

"The NRT is here to provide specialized resources to help determine the origin and cause of this fire,” said Walter Shaw, ATF NRT supervisor. “The team works in partnership with local and state fire and law enforcement agencies to assist this community in any way we can.”

“ATF’s Chicago Field Division is committed to assisting in determining the cause and origin of this tragedy,” commented Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division Christopher Amon.  “Our sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of CFD firefighter Jermaine Pelt, who courageously made the ultimate sacrifice serving the citizens of Chicago today.  We wish his fellow firefighters a full recovery.” 

This is the tenth NRT activation this fiscal year and the 901st since the program began in 1978.

The NRT provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, typically deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and highly qualified ATF personnel specializing in fire origin and cause determination.

 The NRT is comprised of three regional components organized geographically to cover the United States. The team can rapidly respond to assist local and state law enforcement or fire service personnel in onsite investigations. 

Past NRT activations include such incidents as: the Nashville “Christmas Day” bombing; more than 200 fire scenes resulting from civil unrest throughout the Midwest in 2020; a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, in 2018; and national-level tragedies such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon; the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta; the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at


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