NEWARK — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced that its National Response Team (NRT) has joined the investigation into the hotel and condominium fires on Lake Avenue in Ocean Grove, N.J., that destroyed the Warrington Hotel and several houses and severely damaged two condominium complexes on March 3.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office and the New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office requested the assistance of the NRT, which began the on-scene investigation. Over the next several days, certified fire investigators and special agents from the ATF Newark Field Division and other experts will work alongside state and local investigators to sift through debris, reconstruct the scene, collect evidence, conduct interviews and attempt to identify an origin and cause of the fire.
“The Newark Field Division agents and the ATF National Response Team bring a wealth of specialized knowledge to the scene,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Scott C. Curley. “We are working closely with our state and local partners to support the investigation.”
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 chemists.
ATF is the sole federal agency with experience and resources to investigate fires and crimes of arson in the United States and its territories. The primary mission of the NRT is to concentrate ATF explosives and fire investigative resources and expertise on large-scale and complex incidents due to the size, scope or number of victims.
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.
Since its inception in 1978, the NRT has deployed 809 times. The NRT has deployed 12 times in fiscal year 2017, which began Oct. 1, 2016.