ATF Joins Probe of LA Explosion That Injured 12 Firefighters

Photo via NBC News

LOS ANGELES – The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with ATF special agents from the Los Angeles Field Division, were activated today to join the investigation of the fire that occurred Saturday at a commercial building, located at 327 E Boyd St., injuring 12 firefighters from Los Angeles Fire Department. The blaze is believed to have started at a business that makes ‘butane honey oil.’

The NRT callout will have experts arriving today and they will begin processing the scene. ATF’s NRT was activated to join the investigation at the request of the City of Los Angeles The NRT members will be working jointly with the ATF Los Angeles Field Division, and LAFD.

“ATF is committed to working alongside Los Angeles Fire Department to determine the origin and cause of this fire that tragically injured firefighters,” said Special Agent in Charge of ATF Los Angeles Field Division Monique Villegas. “ATF will provide whatever resources are necessary to thoroughly investigate and provide answers.”

Federal, state and local investigators can request an NRT activation to investigate significant fire, arson and explosion incidents. The NRT provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and qualified ATF personnel.

The NRT works in conjunction with other investigators to reconstruct the scene, identify the seat of the blast or origin of the fire and determine the cause of an incident. In the case of bombings and arsons, NRT members gather evidence to support criminal prosecutions. A deployed NRT is generally broken down into two components — a group that processes the scene and an investigative-lead element. In the course of the overall investigation, both components coordinate daily to ensure investigative continuity.

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. 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.

Other activations of the NRT in California include the 2019 fire on the dive boat Conception killing 34 people while the ship was anchored off Santa Cruz Island. The 2018 five-alarm fire in Oakland; the 2018 blaze resulting in the $55 million loss of the Northern California Concord apartment complex; the 2015 fire in San Marco at Holland Motor Homes causing $4 million in damage; the 2014 Da Vinci complex blaze in Los Angeles causing $30 million in damage to the complex and an additional $50 million in damage to the Department of Water and Power building.

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