Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Response Team have been sent to Minneapolis and St. Paul to investigate the fires set to local businesses during the recent unrest that took place in both cities.
According to a spokesperson with the ATF St. Paul Field Division, they've been requested to work alongside both city's fire departments and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division to help determine the parties responsible for the fires.
“The cause of these fires is quite obvious,” Special Agent in Charge William Henderson, of the St. Paul Field Division said in a statement. “The task at hand now is to determine who is responsible. ATF’s National Response Team is going to be a tremendous asset. It brings a wealth of knowledge and resources to assist local police and fire departments in large-scale fire investigations.”
According to a news release, the agencies are investigating approximately 100 business fires in Minneapolis and around 35 businesses in St. Paul.
“The extra personnel will help move these investigations along more quickly,” Henderson said. “Our goal here is to assist in these fire scene investigations alongside our local, state and federal partners, bringing them all to a successful conclusion.”
According to the ATF, this is the fourth time this year that state has requested the National Response Team to assist in investigations, including the Press Bar and Parlor fire in St. Cloud in January and a behavioral health clinic in Grand Rapids in February. Prior to this year, the NRT hadn't been in Minnesota since 2004.