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Federal Investigators Brought In

November 20, 1987

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) _ Federal agents have been asked to help investigate a suspicious fire in a secured area at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Tennessee Valley Authority officials said Friday.

The investigation was expanded to include the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after gasoline was found in debris from the site of the Nov. 2 fire, officials said.

″We have determined the fire to be suspicious in origin,″ TVA nuclear chief Steven White said. The plant, near Athens, Ala., has been idle while safety improvements are carried out.

The fire occurred close to the Unit 2 reactor core, and TVA officials first believed the fire was electrical.

″My gut reaction is that this is not arson,″ said Rick Tye, TVA chief of fire protection and industrial safety.

But gasoline shouldn’t have been in the area, Tye said. The fire could have been sparked by electrical malfunctions and then fueled by gasoline, Tye said.

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