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ATF Begins Groundbreaking
On New High-Tech Lab
Contact: Bill Kinsella
ATF Public Information
ATF Headquarters
202-927-8244

 

Beltsville, Md.- U.S Treasury Under Secretary James Johnson, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms(ATF) Director John W. Magaw, U.S Congressman Steny Hoyer, and Senator Paul Sarbanes today participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new ATF National Laboratory Center. This ceremony was also attended by State Senator Arthur Dorman and GSA Administrator Nelson B. Alcalde.

Construction on the facility is scheduled to start in January 2000 on a 35-acre site located approximately 10 minutes North of the Washington Beltway, and to be completed by September 2001.

The ATF National Laboratory Center will actually house 3 laboratories in its 176,000 square foot atrium-styled structure. The National Laboratory will serve as the administrative headquarters for the ATF Laboratory system, which includes the ATF Labs in Atlanta and San Francisco. In addition, it will house the ATF Alcohol and Tobacco Laboratory, the ATF Forensic Science Laboratory, and the new Fire Research Laboratory.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Laboratory will be used to conduct chemical, physical and instrumental analysis of the two Federally regulated industries. This work will assist in ATF's mission of "assuring the integrity of regulated alcohol and tobacco products, as well as ensuring compliance with existing laws and regulations".

The ATF Forensic Laboratory will assist with firearms and explosives investigations across the country by providing a host of services to support criminal investigations to include: conducting trace element comparison, identifying fingerprints, and conducting firearm and tool-mark examinations.

The ATF Fire Research Center will be the first laboratory of its kind in the world. The Center will be dedicated to supporting fire scene investigations and house state-of -the-art equipment and technology, which will keep ATF on the cutting edge of fire and bombing investigations. The ATF Fire Center will be a high bay research facility capable of conducting a wide variety of potential fire reenactments ranging from a two-story townhouse to a toaster. This testing will not only be useful to learn how and why fires begin and spread, but will also be of benefit to better understand ignition scenarios and improve fire-fighting methods. Director Magaw stated that "ATF will continue to advance the field of fire service to make America a safer place. We have designed, with the help of public and private labs, industry and the forensic community, a laboratory that will compliment all existing fire research labs".

 
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