ATF heads investigation of latest Camden fire

June 21, 2011 3:13:25 PM PDT
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has taken charge of the investigation of the third major fire in Camden in 10 days.

The ATF's team consists of more than 20 experts trying to determine the cause of Sunday's multi-alarm fire on Federal Street.

Camden officials asked the ATF for help, and within 36 hours, the team of specialists, fire and explosive experts from around the country was on the scene.

"They are typically brought in in fires where the damage exceeds a million dollars, [or involves] death or injury," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Matthew Horrace of the agents. "And you have seen them at areas like the Oklahoma City bombing and other fires throughout the country."

The spree of massive fires started back on June 9th, when flames burned through an old tire factory in the city. On June 11th firefighters were called to another multi-alarm fire, this one at an abandoned garmet factory.

Residents worry that the fires are the work of an arsonist. The ATF will work to determine if that is the case, or if there is some other explanation for the fires.

ATF officials said Tuesday that they will remain on the scene until the cause and origin of Sunday's blaze in a former chemical plant is complete.

Authorities say they have specific information that makes them think it might have been arson. The two earlier fires are also considered supicious.