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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF Press Release

Contact: Public Info Officer Amanda Hay
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 2, 2023

ATF National Response Team Joins Investigation of Buffalo Theater District Fire

WASHINGTON – The New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives called on ATF’s National Response Team to join the investigation of a fire that claimed the life of a Buffalo firefighter Wednesday at 745 Main Street in the city’s theater district.

NRT members arrived in New York today to assist the Buffalo Fire Department, Fire Marshal’s Office and Police Department in this ongoing investigation. The NRT consists of Special Agents, Certified Fire Investigators, a Forensic Chemist, Intelligence Research Specialist, Certified Explosives Specialist, Law Enforcement Training Specialist, Fire Protection Engineer, Electrical Engineer and an Accelerant Detection Canine with handler.

“My team and I are here to work alongside our local partners and share whatever resources we have to help determine the origin and cause of this fire,” said David Oliver, on scene NRT Team Leader. “While the pain of this loss will always be felt, we hope our efforts provide the answers a tragedy like this demands.”

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.

“Anytime a firefighter loses their life in the line of duty, it is a tragic loss to the community and this nation," said Special Agent in Charge John DeVito, ATF New York Field Division. "We are heartbroken for the family, friends and fellow firefighters and vow to work alongside our partners in the Buffalo Fire Department, Fire Marshal’s Office and Police Department to determine how and why this tragedy occurred.”

This is the seventh NRT activation this fiscal year and the 898th since the program began in 1978. The team brings definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents. Four regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States, comprise the NRT. 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: 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 incidents 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.

The NRT was most recently deployed to Indiana in January for a warehouse fire in Evansville.

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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