PLAINFIELD, Ind. – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent its National Response Team to investigate the fire at the Plainfield Walmart distribution center.
The fire broke out around noon Wednesday at the facility located at 9590 Allpoints Parkway, sending a plume of black smoke into the air that was visible for miles. Dozens of firefighters responded to the fire, which sent ash and debris into nearby areas.
The federal team, led by NRT Supervisor Christopher Forkner, arrived in Indiana Thursday and has been briefed on the situation. The onsite investigation is already underway.
The team’s most recent Indianapolis operation involved assisting investigators with the 2012 Richmond Hill house explosion.
The ATF developed the NRT to help federal, state and local investigators handle significant events involving explosives and fires. Its three teams are organized geographically and can be dispatched within 24 hours.
According to the ATF, the team includes special agents with vital backgrounds in:
- 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
- audit support
The NRT will work with local investigators to reconstruct the scene, identify the origin of a blast or fire, conduct interviews and sift through debris for evidence.
This marks the tenth activation of an NRT in fiscal year 2022 and the 885th since its creation, the ATF said. The teams have responded to other large-scale events including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and the Sept. 11 Pentagon crash site.
The group also has experience responding to blasts at explosives and ammunition manufacturing facilities as well as fireworks factories.