ATF summons team to site of fire that destroyed West Chester senior housing

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Personnel from the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms) Philadelphia Field Division are on scene at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community fire in West Chester, PA to aid the Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Chester County Sheriff’s Office, and Chester County District Attorney’s Office with the investigation.

The blaze destroyed the senior living complex in the city north of Wilmington. Firefighters struggled with high winds.

More than 100 residents were evacuated from the complex, with upwards of two dozen hospitalized, according to media reports.

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The West Chester Borough Police asked that anyone who does not know the whereabouts of a loved one to contact the department. The department also stated that donations are not needed at this time.

ATF’s National Response Team is also en-route.

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.

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.

The NRT’s resources include a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles, strategically located throughout the United States.

Past NRT activations include such incidents as the explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people in 2013,; the spree of 10 arsons at churches in Texas in 2010; a commercial fire in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine firefighters in 2007; and national level incidents such as the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, the Atlanta, Ga. Olympic bombing, the Oklahoma City, bombing; and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

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