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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 28, 2013

Contact: Special Agent Jeff Boshek
202-648-8141 (Office)
719-492-4871 (Cell)

Contact: Timothy Wilson, DCFEMS
202-673-3298 (Office)
202-809-2705 (Cell)

Cause of June 6 Frager’s Hardware Store Fire Determined

WASHINGTON — After an extensive and cooperative investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DCFEMS) Fire Investigation Unit has determined the origin and cause of the June 6, 2013, fire that heavily damaged Frager’s Hardware store to be classified as accidental. The fire in the landmark Capitol Hill business originated in the receiving area located on the 11th street side of the building and was determined to have been most likely ignited by the careless discard of smoking material.

This was a very dangerous and destructive fire, and a big loss to the community. ATF actively works everyday with our partners in the District and across the country to find the origin and cause of fires, said Special Agent in Charge Carl Vasilko of the ATF Washington Field Division.

The task force relied on a variety of resources that helped uncover the cause of this fire, said Deputy Chief Bruce Faust, Fire Marshal for the District of Columbia. It’s important for people to remain vigilant when they dispose of any material that could potentially start a fire so that accidents can be avoided.

This major fire investigation was a joint effort conducted as part of the Washington D.C. Fire and Explosion Task Force, a cooperative effort pooling the expertise and resources of ATF, DCFEMS and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to determine the origin and cause of any major fire or explosion in the District of Columbia, especially if death or serious injury resulted from the incident. The investigation at Frager’s Hardware involved the careful examination of the fire scene by certified fire investigators, interviews of numerous witnesses, electrical engineering and fire protection engineering analyses and digital media analysis.

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