ATF National Response Team arrives to investigate scene of large downtown St. Paul fire

Thursday, members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response team were at the site where a large fire took place earlier this week in downtown St. Paul.

The site of the fire was the Seven Corners Gateway project, which was to include hotel rooms and apartments. Kaeding Development Group was leading the project and had invested $68 million in the development.

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ATF assisting in investigation of large downtown St. Paul fire

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According to the ATF, an initial assessment revealed the hotel was damaged the most by the fire; the apartment complex under construction was minimally damaged in comparison.

"Based on the size of the building, amount of fire damage and number of investigative leads, the St. Paul Fire Department and our local ATF office requested the assistance of ATF’s National Response Team," Special Agent in Charge Terry Henderson, of the St. Paul Field Division, said in a statement. "The National Response Team is a tremendous asset and brings a wealth of knowledge and resources to assist local police and fire departments in large-scale fire investigations.

"The extra personnel will help move this investigation along more quickly," Henderson added.

A National Response Team consists of "veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise, forensic chemists, explosives enforcement officers, fire protection engineers, accelerant detection canines, explosives detection canines, intelligence support, computer forensic support, and audit support," according to the ATF.

This marks the fifth time the National Response Team has responded in person to Minnesota this year, the ATF reports. The team also helped support more than 150 arson investigations in the Twin Cities during the civil unrest that followed George Floyd’s death. Many of those remain under investigation.