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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Contact: Andrew L. Lluberes


Immediate Release

December 17, 2003


'VIRTUAL LIBRARY' FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS Received Record Number of Visitors in

- A web site supported by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives received a record 28,215 visitors in November 2003, more
than in any month since the site appeared in 2000.

number of visitors to the site,,
was up 14 percent since October and 22 percent since November 2002,
attesting to the growing popularity of the site among fire investigators,
researchers and students.

web site began life as a reference section within a virtual reality
training CD-Rom for law enforcement, insurance and fire investigators.
ATF, the American Re-Insurance Co., U.S. Fire Administration and the
National Fire Protection Association provided the content expertise
for the CD, which was released in 2000. ATF later decided to expand
and fund the collaborative project as an Internet site; Stonehouse Media,
Inc., designed and maintains the web site.

has really taken off and evolved into a virtual library for a wide audience
of fire investigators, researchers and students," said Lewis P.
Raden, assistant director of ATF's Office of Firearms, Arson and Explosives.
"People are finding it, coming back, navigating, signing up for
alerts and hopefully learning."

web site bills itself as the "complete resource for fire services,
fire insurers, law enforcement and others whose duties involve arson
investigation, fire investigation safety and fire scene training."

includes an online training center where, with the click of a computer
mouse button, visitors can travel down a charred hallway, turn into
a room and zoom in for a better look at a burned out electrical socket.
The site also features articles of interest, a message board and information
on insurance.

is a calendar of fire investigation training programs covering topics
from arson awareness to fire insurance fraud and fire codes and standards.

Resource Center covers fire investigation from before a fire through
to follow up and legal preparation. Visitors can access fire investigation
materials that include arson investigation abstracts, articles and tutorials,
U.S. Fire Administration technical reports, fire investigation links
and more.
is another tool ATF provides to help fire investigators and researchers
expand their knowledge. In November, ATF launched the Bomb and Arson
Tracking System (BATS), an Internet-accessible system that will allow
state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies to share information
about bomb and arson cases and incidents.

Arson and Explosives National Repository, which Congress has entrusted
with maintaining all national information on explosives incidents and
arson, developed and maintains BATS. Law enforcement agencies interested
in participating in BATS should contact the National Repository at 1-800-461-8841.

information on ATF can be found at
and on the National Repository at