Fire investigators respond to a variety of incidents to include but not limited to significant fires, explosive devices, and significant burn injuries. These individuals are responsible for: fire origin and cause determination, scene documentation, witness interviews, investigation of explosives, hazardous materials incidents, hazards materials releases, rendering safe explosive devices, executing searches, and providing expert testimony in the criminal court system
The Fire Marshal's Office has sworn law enforcement personnel and are highly trained in the fields of arson detection, explosive investigation, and case management. Members of the Fire Marshal's Office regularly participate in state and federal training programs such as: evidence collection, fire dynamics, case management, gang recognition, interviewing techniques, photography, fire arms and tactical training, vehicle fire investigation, post-blast investigations, cell phone forensic investigation techniques, managing complex fire scene investigations and bomb squad re-certification.
Mobile Investigations Unit
During specific incidents the division utilizes a Mobile Investigations Unit which stores equipment and provides a small work area in the rear of the unit. This unit carries an assortment of tools ranging from hand tools and shovels to cord reels, quad gas meters, and portable quartz lights as well as photographic scale kits, fingerprinting equipment, and evidence packaging supplies. The unit was designed to aid the investigators in doing their job more efficiently. Additionally, safety has been increased without having to rely on keeping fire apparatus committed to the fire scene where they cannot respond to further emergencies.
Incidents determined to be arson or crimes involving improvised incendiary or explosive devices are serious in nature and responsible individuals can face severe criminal charges based on the circumstances. For more information regarding these types of crimes, visit the Code of Virginia Legislative Information System Opens a New Window. or contact the Fire Marshal’s Office.