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ATF Investigating Six-Alarm Labor Day Blaze in Alexandria

Alexandria Fire Department requests assistance from federal investigators.

Alexandria has called in the ATF to help investigate a warehouse fire that required 200 firefighters to put out the blaze on Labor Day. Photo credit: Tim Malanka on Twitter.
Alexandria has called in the ATF to help investigate a warehouse fire that required 200 firefighters to put out the blaze on Labor Day. Photo credit: Tim Malanka on Twitter.

By Mary Ann Barton

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the six-alarm fire that destroyed an Alexandria warehouse on Labor Day, according to a news release from the ATF.

The blaze at the three-story DC Foam warehouse at 801 S. Pickett St. caused more than $1 million in damage, the ATF said. About 200 firefighters from Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County and Prince George's County, Md. fought the blaze for several hours before it was under control.

The Alexandria Fire Department requested the assistance from the ATF. Chief Adam Thiel tweeted a photo of the ATF team on the scene Wednesday

ATF's National Response Team along with ATF special agents from the Washington Field Division joined the investigation into the industrial fire. ATF joined the investigation at the request of the Alexandria Fire Department.

The Alexandria Fire Department responded to the six–alarm building fire and the building quickly became "fully involved" in fire and a collapse occurred causing more than $1 million in damages and injuring one firefighter.

This is the second NRT response to Alexandria in the past two years. The NRT responded to assist with the investigation of the Virginia Theological Seminary fire in 2011.

Agents from the ATF Washington Field Division arrived on scene Monday with the NRT following on Tuesday.

"ATF is committed to working alongside its state and local partners bringing its expertise in fire investigation , and additional resources to thoroughly investigate and determine the origin and cause of this fire," said Special Agent in Charge Carl Vasilko, ATF Washington 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 explosives and arson incidents. The NRT consists of three regions 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 onsite investigations.

This is the 10th NRT activation in fiscal year 2013 and the 746th since its inception.

In addition to investigating hundreds of scenes, the NRT has also 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, as well as blasts at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

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