ROSEVILLE, Calif., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the San Francisco Field Division have been activated by a request from the City of Roseville to investigate a fire at the Westfield Galleria Mall. The fire at the shopping mall, located at 1151 Galleria Blvd., Roseville, occurred on October 21st. The team of about 20 agents and specialists will start the scene investigation today. Some of the local special agents and investigators are already onsite.
"ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Roseville Fire Department and Roseville Police Department. We will work together in partnership and provide our expertise as a force multiplier to determine the origin and cause of this fire," said Stephen C. Herkins, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division. The estimated total loss of the mall is still pending. This is the 2nd activation of the NRT in Fiscal Year 2011 and the 710th activation since the inception of the team in 1978.
"We greatly appreciate the support and added expertise the ATF NRT provides to the Roseville Fire Department and the City of Roseville," stated Fire Chief Ken Wagner.
"We appreciate the local support received from our Sacramento ATF Office and their ability to bring in additional resources from the ATF NRT. This is a major crime scene and their expertise in the field of fire and arson is greatly appreciated," stated Chief Blair of the Roseville Police Department.
"It is great to have ATF onboard. We are relying on their expertise to collect and evaluate the evidence at the scene," stated Ray Kerridge, Roseville City Manager.
Other local activations of the NRT in the area include the Wine Central fire in Vallejo in October 2005, a large commercial warehouse in Sacramento in September 2006, a commercial building that housed Walgreens and Subway sandwich shop in Palo Alto in July 2007, and the Iceland Ice-Skating Rink, a landmark in Sacramento in March 2010.
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to investigate in partnership with 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 work jointly with 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 Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions 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 forensic 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 bombing/arson incidents.
Further complementing the team's efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully-equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States are available to provide logistical support.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.
Contact ATF PIO S/A Helen Dunkel, cell (925) 202-8135
SOURCE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives