In 2006 the Loudoun County Fire Marshal's Office began the process to replace the Mobile Investigations Unit, a 1990 Chevy step van. The original unit was purchased and then customized in house by the staff of the Fire Marshal's office. The unit had a small amount of storage space to house tools and equipment inside the vehicle, and a small work area in the rear of the unit.
When planning began on the new unit, pictured above, objectives were set for the final product. The first objective was that storage space should accommodate all the current tools and equipment carried and allow for future items to be added. Secondly, the equipment and supplies should be stored in an orderly manner. Another objective is that a conditioned work space would allow for rehabilitation of crews working in extreme heat or cold. The chassis needed to be four-wheel drive due to the remote locations and adverse weather conditions in which some fires occur. All of these factors were to be considered and designed into a reliable and durable unit obtained at the lowest possible cost to the county.
The unit will carry 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 carry tools and equipment 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.