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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2013


Contact: PIO Andrew Young

(469) 995-4523 (cell)

ATF NRT Activated to Investigate Condominium Fire

Dallas – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) along with ATF special agents from the Dallas Field Division joined the investigation into the fire that destroyed the 24-unit Hearthwood North Condominiums complex located at 12363 Abrams Road in Dallas.

Agents from the ATF Dallas Field Division arrived on scene early Monday, May 20, with the NRT arriving on scene that evening at the request of the Dallas Fire Department. The team is led by Dallas Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Carl Walker and Team Supervisor Peter O’Connor, Alcohol, Tobacco and Arson Enforcement Division (ATAED).

This is a terrible tragedy and a reminder of the sacrifice first responders make every day, said Special Agent in Charge Robert Champion, ATF Dallas Field Division. ATF is committed to working alongside its state and local partners bringing its expertise to determine the origin and cause of this horrific fire, and provide whatever resources necessary to thoroughly investigate and provide answers.

ATF developed the NRT to bring its expertise to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant explosives and arson 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.

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 8th NRT activation in fiscal year 2013 and the 744th since its inception.

Other activations of the NRT in North Texas and Oklahoma include the West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion in April 2013; the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences in September 2012; the Amarillo, Texas commercial building fire in April 2012; the Leslie Pool Supply Warehouse fire in Dallas in August 2011; the Grand Prairie commercial building fire in February 2011; the Anthony Forest Products building fire March 2010 in Atlanta, Texas; the Church fires in Tyler and Temple in January and February 2010.

In addition to investigating hundreds of 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.

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