Fire Investigations works to determine the origin and cause of fires. The data collected during a fire investigation is of great significance, especially arson investigations. Additionally, the Division compiles statistics on fire trends for the purpose of developing programs to reduce fire risk in the future.
The Investigations Division was founded in 1963 under the management of the Fire Prevention Division. At first, fire inspectors were assigned to investigative duties. As the community grew, however, so did the demand for trained investigators.
Today the division employs six full time investigators. All investigators are commissioned peace officers with weapons qualification. The investigators have arrest authority and are trained not only in fire investigation techniques but also in evidence collection, interviewing, fraud investigation, and other aspects of criminal investigation. They are subpoenaed to court on a regular basis to render expert opinions in both civil and criminal actions.
The investigators work a 24-hour, 3-Platoon schedule which means that they are available for dispatch at all times. The investigation division works closely with federal, state, and local agencies.
Due to the immense need for fire/arson investigation services, the State Fire Marshal's Office has adopted an investigation protocol as a guide for allocation of resources. At the top of the protocol are fires that are catastrophic in nature - fires that have resulted in death, significant property damage or pose a serious threat to public health and safety. The protocol also identifies fires where the fire is believed to be the work of an arsonist, related to hate crime, or where the operation of vital public institution is compromised.
For inquiries or to speak with an investigator, call (702) 732-7949.