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ATF asking the public for help with its fire investigation


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and Friday Harbor Fire are currently conducting a fire scene investigation in Friday Harbor, Washington. The fire occurred on April 7, 2022, and destroyed multiple commercial structures located at or near 80 First Street S, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250.

Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance concerning this incident. Anyone with information, including photographs and video, should contact ATF Special Agent Michael Gistinger at michael.gistinger@atf.gov or 813-267-6983.

INFORMATION ABOUT the ATF from its website:

ATF launched the first National Response Team (NRT) in 1978 as a mobile, rapid response team to investigate large fires, explosions and bombings. ATF now maintains several NRTs strategically located throughout the eastern, central and western regions of the United States.

NRT members apply their specialized skills to investigate crime scenes, reconstruct fire origins, and identify the cause. They also conduct witness interviews as part of the investigative process. Their work is mentally and physically demanding, requiring long hours and a great depth of technical knowledge.

NRTs are made up of veteran special agents and scientific technicians with expertise in fire origin/cause determination and post-blast analysis, including Certified Fire Investigators, Certified Explosives Specialists (CES), CES Bomb Technicians, Explosives Enforcement Officers, forensic chemists, engineers, medics, and canine handlers. The teams are supported by ATF’s intelligence research specialists, forensic auditors, digital media specialists, and other technical and legal experts who work with law enforcement on criminal cases.

NRTs are activated when a major fire, explosion or bombing requires additional operation capabilities to support local authorities or ATF resources investigations. NRTs can travel anywhere in the nation within 24 hours. Once operational, they provide a command and control structure along with significant logistical support that brings various experts together as a team to analyze complex fire/explosion-related crime scenes. They also participate in the criminal investigative process and provide expert testimony in court.  

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