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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

January 4, 2012

Contact: Special Agent Christian Hoffman, PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (213) 216-3622

ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate a Series of Arson Fires in Los Angeles County

LOS ANGELES — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was called to investigate a string of arson fires in several locations throughout Los Angeles.

The arson fires began on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 and ended Monday, Jan. 2, which resulted in more than $2 million of damage to vehicles and structures. In addition to the damage, one fire fighter and one citizen were injured. No fatalities were reported. The NRT was called to collect evidence, review reports, and work with the Los Angeles Fire Department to file criminal charges in the investigation.

ATF is set on solving this investigation and prosecuting the individual(s) who were involved in this destruction of property, while working closely with the other agencies, said John A. Torres ATF Special Agent in Charge Los Angeles Field Division. This is the 4th activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2012, and the 725th activation since the inception of the team in 1978.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to investigate in partnership with federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of three teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with state and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in onsite investigations. In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

The teams are each composed of 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; intelligence support, computer forensic support and forensic audit support. The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson. Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at