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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

March 13, 2009

Contact: Special Agent Kim Riddell

ATF Public Information Officer

(330) 360-2063

ATF National Response Team Activated to Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS - The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with agents from the ATF Indianapolis office have entered the investigation of a large structure fire that occurred at the Cosmopolitan March 12 in Indianapolis. The NRT, at the request of the Indianapolis Fire Investigation Unit, will arrive today in Indianapolis.

Christopher Sadowski, special agent in charge, ATF Columbus Field Division, said that the structure located at the corner of Michigan St. and North Senate Ave., was destroyed. Early estimates of damages are in excess of $20 million.

ATF’s NRT has brought definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents since 1978. Four regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States, comprise the NRT. The team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with state and local law enforcement or fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

The responding NRT component normally has 13-18 members, including veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; explosives and accelerant detection canines; and intelligence, computer forensic and audit support. A fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States provides logistical support.

ATF’s partnership with federal, state and local officers is vital to the most effective processing efforts at an explosives or fire scene. The NRT capitalizes on that by working alongside its partners in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or the origin of the fire, conducting interviews and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion or fire.

In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire and explosives scenes, the NRT trucks were deployed for the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the Olympics and other major sporting events in the United States, presidential inaugurations and the national political conventions, and major international conferences.

This is the 14th NRT activation in fiscal year 2009 and the 672nd since the program began in 1978. Investigators from the Indianapolis Fire and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Departments comprise the Indianapolis Fire Investigation Unit and are jointly investigating the fire with ATF.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at