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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

April 12, 2013

Contact: Special Agent Christian Hoffman

818- 265-2507 (Office)

213- 216-3622 (Cell)

ATF Enters Investigation Into The A Plus Furniture Store Fire

BRAWLEY, CALIF.– The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with ATF special agents from the Los Angeles Field Division have entered the investigation into a fire at the A Plus Furniture Store, located at 542 Main St., Brawley, CA. The building, which housed a retail furniture store, was destroyed. Initial estimates established a dollar loss of one million dollars due to the fire. At least two other adjacent businesses also sustained damage.

ATF is utilizing all available resources to help determine the cause of the fire that destroyed the A Plus Furniture store, said Steven Bogdalek, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division. ATF will be working this jointly with our partners at the Brawley Police and Fire Departments.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to bring its expertise to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist 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 federal building bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, Pentagon crash site, as well as blasts 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 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 teams‘ efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisers. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.

This is the 5th NRT activation in FY 2013 and the 741st since the inception of the NRT.

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