“No indication of any criminal act” has been found at this time as the ATF continues to process the scene at Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln, in the 1000 block of Gilmer Street in Sulphur Springs. John Morrison, ATF spokesperson, stated that the local fire department invited the ATF Response Team to conduct the investigation due to the resources available to the ATF through the Federal Government. He stated that most local entities do not have the vast resources available to ATF. ATF is conducting an origin of cause investigation locally.
In a press release, Morrison stated, “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) along with Special Agents from the ATF Dallas Field Division, were activated Sunday at the request of the Sulphur Springs, Texas Fire Department to investigate a fire which occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 15, at the Brian Toliver Ford Dealership located in the 1000 block of Gilmer Street in Sulphur Springs, Texas. The team of roughly two dozen agents and specialists arrived late Saturday, and will start the scene investigation today.
“ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Sulphur Springs Fire Department. We will work together in partnership to determine the origin and cause of this fire,” said Jeff Boshek, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division. The total loss of the car dealership is estimated by the investigators to be about $3 million. This is the eighth activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2016, and the 781st activation since the inception of the team in 1978.
“Other activations of the NRT in Texas include the church fires in Tyler and Temple in January and February 2010 as well as the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion in 2013.
“The primary mission of the NRT is to concentrate ATF explosives and fire investigative resources and expertise on large scale incidents, or on more complex investigations due to the size, scope, or number of victims as a result of the incident. ATF’s NRT provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, typically deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and the most qualified ATF personnel available.
“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. In the case of bombings or arsons, NRT members gather evidence to support criminal prosecutions. A deployed team 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 NRT is composed of veteran special agents, including certified explosives specialists, certified fire investigators, forensic mapping specialists, accelerant and explosives detection canine teams, explosives enforcement officers, fire protection engineers, electrical engineers and forensic chemist.
“The NRT’s resources include a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States that allow the NRT to be self-contained for the forensic examination of explosives and fire scenes.
“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.
“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. or Follow ATF on Twitter @ATFHQ.”