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ATF Sends International Response Team to Paraguay; Experts to Investigate Fire That Has Claimed More Than 400 Lives.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced today that it has sent an International Response Team to Paraguay to assist in the investigation of a supermarket fire that has claimed more than 400 lives.

The ATF team arrived in Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, Aug. 5 and is composed of a special agent in charge, five special agents who are also certified fire investigators, two explosives enforcement officers and a chemist. The team will assist Paraguayan authorities in determining the cause of the Aug. 1 fire at the Ycua Bolanos supermarket on the outskirts of Asuncion.

The blaze has claimed more than 400 lives and is being called Paraguay's worst disaster since the country's war with neighboring Bolivia in the 1930s.

ATF, which has federal jurisdiction in the United States for investigating arson and other major fires, sent the team in response to a request for assistance from Paraguay's attorney general.

The ATF International Response Team participates with the Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. Department of State to provide technical and investigative assistance at international explosives and fire incidents. The IRT activation to Paraguay is the 25th since 1991, including previous responses to Argentina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Korea, Macedonia, Pakistan and Peru.

Contact: Andrew L. Lluberes, or Sheree L. Mixell, of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, +1-202-927-8500

Web site: http://www.atf.gov/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 6, 2004
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