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ATF Partners with Department to Conduct Fire Investigations Experiments

 For Immediate Release: December 16, 2011

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – This upcoming Monday, December 19th and Tuesday, December 20th, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will be partnering with the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) to conduct a full-scale fire experiment. This experiment will be used to collect data on fire behavior, gas temperatures, heat fluxes, toxicity measurements, smoke detector and sprinkler activation times and temperatures associated with a fire in a single family home, as it goes through flashover. The installation of video cameras, gas and temperature monitoring equipment and a sprinkler system will assist in capturing the information needed. 

The experiment will include several controlled burns and will culminate in a live burn of the entire structure. The results of this experiment will be used to develop a fire investigations course that will be taught at the National Fire Academy. The course will be scenario-driven where a fire will be documented in a real-world structure using videos and pictures.  

“We are extremely proud that the ATF Fire Research Laboratory has chosen to partner with our Department in creating a course that will be offered to firefighters all over the country,” said Fire Chief William Goddard. “Arson is a very real crime and this experiment will provide some of the groundwork in equipping our investigators with the skills needed to combat it.”   ATF Fire Research Laboratory (FRL) Chief John Allen added, “We recognize that cooperation with our investigative counterparts is essential in combating violent crime and this week’s training exercise is a prime example of how federal, state, and local agencies work together to help protect the public and make our communities safer.” 

Personnel from both agencies have spent the past two weeks preparing the house for the controlled burns and experiments that will take place. The experiments will take place at 4100 College Avenue in Ellicott City, MD. The schedule is as follows: Monday, December 19th and Tuesday, December 20th from 10am – 2pm.