Saturday, February 20, 2010

ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate Montezuma, Ga. Warehouse Fire

/PRNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team, along with ATF special agents from the Atlanta Field Division, have entered the investigation of a commercial warehouse fire that occurred on February 12, 2010, in Montezuma, Georgia. The NRT is deploying at the request of the Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office.

The facility, an approximately 120,000 square-foot building, located at 261 Hamilton Road in Montezuma, is the former site of Evergreen Composite Technologies a composite wood manufacturing plant. No deaths or injuries were reported, yet the building was completely destroyed.

ATF's NRT has brought definitive expertise and an array of state-of-the-art equipment to the investigation of major fire and explosives incidents since 1978. Four regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States, comprise the NRT. The team can respond within 24 hours to assist state and local law enforcement or fire service personnel in onsite 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. The responding NRT team supervisor is Supervisory Special Agent Chris Porreca stationed in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Team Special Agent in Charge is Dondi Albritton, stationed in Louisville, KY.

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 11th activation of the NRT in FY 2010 and the 693nd since its inception in 1978.

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