INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived on-scene Wednesday to join agents from the Kansas City Field Division to investigate the fatal explosion that happened early Tuesday afternoon at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant.
The explosion killed one plant employee and caused significant damage to a production area. The Lake City plant manufactures the majority of small arms ammunition used by all branches of the U.S. Military.
"ATF is committed and honored to work with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division by adding our expertise and resources to this investigation," said Jeffrey L. Fulton, special agent in charge of the ATF Kansas City Field Division.
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to bring its expertise to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant explosions 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 on-site 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 15th NRT activation this fiscal year and the 812th activation since the inception of the NRT in 1978.
In addition to investigating hundreds of scenes, the NRT has 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, West Texas explosion, as well as blasts at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. For more information about ATF, go to www.atf.gov and follow @ATFHQ on Twitter.