ATF hasn’t ruled out arson as cause of Waldo apartment fire after initial investigation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms say they have not been able to rule out arson as the cause of a massive apartment fire that happened in Waldo last week.

ATF spokesman John Ham said the agency has concluded the on-scene portion of its investigation into the fire at Waldo Heights Apartments that left the building heavily damaged on Dec. 28. Dozens of tenants were displaced.

The agency has now released the scene back to the property owners, and the stretch of Troost Avenue that has been closed for about a week reopened.

But Ham said the ATF still hasn’t determined the cause of the blaze.

The agency brought in local agents and its National Response Team to investigate the cause of the fire, working with Kansas City police and fire.

Investigators also held nearly 100 interviews with residents, firefighters, witnesses, 911 callers, and apartment staff along with reviewing video from witnesses and security cameras.

But Ham said just because the ATF’s work at the scene is done doesn’t mean the investigation is over. They’ll take the case back to the East Coast.

The agency has sent pieces of debris to its Fire Research Laboratory in Maryland and the final cause will depend on those findings, Ham said. They hope to release more conclusive findings in the next few days, but do not have a firm timeline.

Since the ATF has not been able to rule out arson as the cause, Ham said, they are still treating this as a criminal investigation.

The ATF is asking for anyone with information about the fire to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477. All tips are anonymous.

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