Fire Investigations

Investigations

Fire Investigators work cooperatively with operational fire rescue units, department fire prevention personnel, and other governmental agencies to achieve the goal of preventing injuries and property damage as a result of fires as well as reducing the crime of arson in our community.

What SJCFR Investigates

At all fire scenes, suppression units conduct a preliminary investigation and the fire investigator is requested to respond when:

  • The cause cannot be readily determined

  • The cause is suspected to be incendiary in nature

  • The fire involves a fatality or significant injury

On the Scene

Once on scene, the fire investigator has the responsibility of determining the fire's cause and origin. The fire investigator documents the incident by taking digital photographs, preparing a detailed scene sketch, interviewing witnesses, victims and owners, and collecting evidence. The fire investigator will determine the fire's cause to be one of the following categories:

  • Incendiary: fires that are intentionally set

  • Accidental: fires cause by non-malicious, electrical, mechanical, chemical, or careless means

  • Undetermined: The fire investigator is unable to reasonably determine the cause of the fire.

If the fire investigator determines the cause is incendiary in nature, police arson detectives are requested to conduct the criminal investigation.