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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

January 20, 2010


Contact: Office of Public Affairs

(202) 648-8500

ATF National Response Team Activated to Hoover, Alabama

Hotel Fire Results in Four Fatalities

Hoover, Ala. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team, along with ATF special agents from the Nashville Field Division, have entered the investigation of a hotel fire that occurred Saturday, January 16, 2010, at 1535 Montgomery Highway, in Hoover. The NRT responded at the request of Hoover authorities, and the Nashville Field Division has established a command post in the area. Agents at the command post will track leads and run the investigation through the use of computerized case management software.

Early reports indicate that a large portion of the hotel was destroyed by the fire, which was reported to authorities at around 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Fire departments and other emergency management personnel from the surrounding area assisted in efforts to extinguish the fire, which resulted in the deaths of two Alabama and two Mississippi residents.

The NRT brings its definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents since 1978. The team can respond within 24 hours to provide resources and expertise in onsite fire investigations.

The responding NRT component normally has 18 members, including veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives 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 689th NRT activation since its inception, and the seventh activation of FY 2010. Other agencies involved in the investigation are the Hoover Fire and Police Departments and the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at