Fire Marshal Joseph Battaglia and K-9 pup Pilot join ATF’s National Response Team deployment in response to disaster in NJ.
Nassau County, NY - February 12, 2019 - Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today recognized Nassau County Fire Marshal Joseph Battaglia and his K-9 team partner Pilot for their deployment as part of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) National Response Team to the site of 8-alarm fire disaster in Elmwood Park, New Jersey two weeks ago.
News 12 NJ recently featured FM Battaglia and Pilot in a segment about the team on the ground determining the cause of the fire.
“Our Fire Marshals train hard and make personal sacrifices so that they can respond to danger when it confronts others,” said County Executive Curran. “I am grateful and proud that Fire Marshal Battaglia and Pilot step up not just for their own communities, but for also for others when they are in need.”
“I am very proud that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives has allowed the Nassau County Office of the Fire Marshal to be partners in their Accelerant Detection Canine program for the past 25 years,” said Nassau County Chief Fire Marshal Scott D. Tusa. “This Office is dedicated to assisting ATF whenever they activate the National Response Team and call upon us. I have an even greater sense of pride for our Fire Marshal Canine Handlers Matthew Kerin (K-9 Leah) and Joseph Battaglia (K-9 Pilot) who dedicate themselves to working and training with their canine partners 7 day a week.”
Two weeks ago, the Marcal Paper Mill located in Elmwood, NJ suffered a destructive 8 alarm fire, drawing over 300 firefighters to battle the blaze. Local fire officials requested the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF) assist with the investigation of the fire. In cases of emergency, the ATF activates the National Response Team (NRT). When the NRT is activated, the ATF calls upon its members nationwide to bring various special assets to an investigation scene.
Due to the scale of the fire, the ATF activated elements of the NRT, requesting the Nassau County dispatch one of its Accelerant Detecting K-9 Teams to the scene. The request was for a one week deployment of a K-9 Unit comprised of Fire Marshal Joseph Battaglia and his K-9 partner, Pilot.
FM Battaglia and Pilot have been on the ground all week, receiving briefings as the lead accelerant detection team.
Teams participating in the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Accelerant Detection Training Academy spend 6 weeks in an intensive training for 7 days a week. Nassau County Fire Marshal Joseph Battaglia arrived at the academy in Virginia on October 28 and trained with Pilot everyday until December 7 – graduation day. Joseph Battaglia, who has served as a Nassau County FM for four years, was away from his family during time period, including Thanksgiving.
County Executive Curran recently honored Nassau’s other K-9 Team of Fire Marshal Matthew Kerin and K-9 Leah, who were recently awarded “Top Dog” honors by the ATF.