EMERYVILLE (KRON)—Federal investigators were back out to the scene of a massive fire that destroyed a building under construction in Emeryville Wednesday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives arrived Thursday…
As KRON 4’s Philippe Djegal explains, a specialized team of investigators has been called in to determine what caused the 6-alarm fire.
Several millions of dollars worth of damage later, the building once under construction destroyed by Wednesday’s fire is still too unsafe for fire investigators and federal agents to inspect inside.
“One of the most amazing things about this fire, despite how destructive it was, no one was injuried and we want to make sure it stays that way, so we need to work removing the scaffolding in particular before investigators are able to enter the site,” said Lisa Meiman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.
Meiman says ATF is jointly investigating the cause of the fire with the Alameda County Fire Department, but has called in its national response team, or NRT which specializes in fires.
“NRT’s going to be here for several days, we arrived yesterday, and in addition to going through the scene and analyzing debris and looking through the path of the fire and where it began and possible how it began,” Meiman said. “We’re also going to be interviewing witnesses, going through for surveillance video in the area, looking at photos and doing a comprehensive investigation to determine the cause and origin of the fire, so we can provide that to the Alameda County Fire Department.”
Certified fire investigators, explosives specialists, forensic mappers joined by an excellerant detection k-9 make up the NRT.
The group expects to be in town through the middle of next week.
“We go into all fire scenes with a blank slate,” Meiman said. “We don’t have any preconceptions. We don’t have any theories. We let the evidence guide us to conclusion and one of the big things we have to do to even start the investigation is get into the scene, which is what we are working on today.”
Once the ATF and the NRT complete their field investigation, they’ll have up to 30 days to present their report to the Alameda County Fire Department.