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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF News
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Bill Kinsella
9 , 1999

ATF Begins Groundbreaking On New High-Tech Lab

Md.- U.S Treasury Under Secretary James Johnson, the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms(ATF) Director John W. Magaw, U.S Congressman Steny
Hoyer, and Senator Paul Sarbanes today participated in the groundbreaking
ceremony for the new ATF National Laboratory Center. This ceremony was
also attended by State Senator Arthur Dorman and GSA Administrator Nelson
B. Alcalde.

on the facility is scheduled to start in January 2000 on a 35-acre site
located approximately 10 minutes North of the Washington Beltway, and
to be completed by September 2001.

National Laboratory Center will actually house 3 laboratories in its 176,000
square foot atrium-styled structure. The National Laboratory will serve
as the administrative headquarters for the ATF Laboratory system, which
includes the ATF Labs in Atlanta and San Francisco. In addition, it will
house the ATF Alcohol and Tobacco Laboratory, the ATF Forensic Science
Laboratory, and the new Fire Research Laboratory.

The Alcohol
and Tobacco Laboratory will be used to conduct chemical, physical and
instrumental analysis of the two Federally regulated industries. This
work will assist in ATF's mission of "assuring the integrity of regulated
alcohol and tobacco products, as well as ensuring compliance with existing
laws and regulations".

Forensic Laboratory will assist with firearms and explosives investigations
across the country by providing a host of services to support criminal
investigations to include: conducting trace element comparison, identifying
fingerprints, and conducting firearm and tool-mark examinations.

Fire Research Center will be the first laboratory of its kind in the world.
The Center will be dedicated to supporting fire scene investigations and
house state-of -the-art equipment and technology, which will keep ATF
on the cutting edge of fire and bombing investigations. The ATF Fire Center
will be a high bay research facility capable of conducting a wide variety
of potential fire reenactments ranging from a two-story townhouse to a
toaster. This testing will not only be useful to learn how and why fires
begin and spread, but will also be of benefit to better understand ignition
scenarios and improve fire-fighting methods.

Magaw stated that "ATF will continue to advance the field of fire service
to make America a safer place. We have designed, with the help of public
and private labs, industry and the forensic community, a laboratory that
will compliment all existing fire research labs".