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FBI, ATF serve warrants at Truth Aquatics headquarters

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Posted at 10:46 PM, Sep 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-09 09:07:34-04

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Federal and state agencies spent most of Sunday morning at Truth Aquatics headquarters in Santa Barbara, the company that operated the Conception.

Investigators served a search warrant at around 9 a.m. looking for safety, maintenance, and training records for the boat. Agents also took pictures of the company's two other dive boats. The search warrants are considered "pretty standard" as part of the investigation to find out the cause of the fire and if any crimes were committed.

The search comes just days after the owner of Truth Aquatics preemptively filed a lawsuit that could limit the payouts to the victim's families.

Thirty-four people were killed in the early morning boat fire on Labor Day. One of the victims was identified by family as Nicole Quitasol. Quitasol lived in San Diego. She worked at Nicky Rottens in Coronado.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff says the passengers were trapped by the flames. The Conception's captain and four crew members were the only ones to escape.

Coast Guard records show the Conception passed it's most recent inspections with zero safety violations. Authorities are looking into how batteries and electronics were stored and charged and what crew members were doing at the time of the fire.

All but one of the victim's bodies have been recovered. The search was called off last week due to weather but is expected to resume on Tuesday. The conception is still underwater.