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
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.
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.
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".
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.
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".