About 20 agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived in Los Angeles today to launch an investigation, along with Los Angeles Fire Department officials, into the cause of Monday’s massive fire that destroyed part of a downtown apartment complex that was under construction.
Because of its intensity and how quickly it spread, the fire is being treated as suspicious.
Among the team members, uh, embarking on the search is 6-year-old Major, an accelerant-sniffing Black Lab who works with the LAFD’s Arson/Counter-Terrorism section. Major will be checking the structure for ignitable liquids.
At a press conference this morning, LAist.com reports that ATF agent Carlos Canino said having Major and his handler, Frank Oglesby, aboard was “like having Derek Jeter on your team.” Canino also referred to the pair as the “gold standard” of law-enforcement teams.
Major, a Department of Justice (DOJ) dog, trained for accelerant detection at the ATF Canine Training Center in Virginia, according to the LAFD Arson Facebook page. There are currently about 60 DOJ dogs who, with their handlers, help recover arson evidence at fire scenes.
“Major responds not only to incidents in the city of Los Angeles, but to other regions as part of the ATF National Response Team,” writes LAFD Arson. “In addition to being an ambassador for our department, Major is a significant tool in the battle against arson.”
LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said today that the investigation “may take weeks and may take months.” Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the tip line at 213-893-9850.
Photo via Twitter