Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT), along with ATF Special Agents from the Los Angeles Field Division, announce the conclusion of the scene investigation at the Extra Space Storage facility in Venice, as a result of a Major Emergency structure fire on Saturday, October 25. All agencies are in agreement that the fire has been ruled "undetermined."

“The LAFD thanks the ATF NRT for its response and assistance in the complex and detailed investigation of this significant fire in Venice,” said Battalion Chief Robert Nelson, head of the LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section. “We value our critical partnership with the ATF and this investigation remains open and we will pursue any leads that develop.”

“At this time, the LAFD-ACTS and the ATF are ruling the cause of the fire as undetermined,” said Carlos Canino, ATF Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Field Division. According to Mr. Canino, an undetermined cause finding is made "when the cause cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty, which could be due to insufficient information or if multiple causes could not be eliminated. Canino further stated that “while the scene examination has been completed, the investigation will remain open for purposes of conducting additional interviews, forensic examination of collected evidence and following up of any additional leads as they develop.”

ATF and the LAFD-ACTS worked together beginning on Tuesday, October 28, to investigate the origin and cause of the fire. More than 50 agents, investigators, and experts were on scene. More than 60 leads were developed and more than 50 interviews were conducted. As part of scene excavation, investigators and agents sifted through thousands of pounds of fire debris searching for evidence. Additionally, fire protection engineers and forensic mappers digitally reconstructed the impacted area of the affected building.

More than 400 LAFD personnel responded to a Major Emergency Structure fire at the Extra Space Storage facility at 658 Venice Blvd. on Saturday, October 25. It took firefighters more than 14 hours to fully extinguish the blaze and eight LAFD members suffered minor injuries during the firefight. A total dollar loss is not immediately available, as individuals with storage units will need to assess any damage to their stored belongings in the coming days.

ATF and the LAFD would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the residents of Venice, and especially the tenants of the storage facility, for their patience and understanding while we conducted our scene investigation. 

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