Fire Investigations are conducted by Fire/Arson Investigators that are certified as peace officers through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Along with holding a Peace Officer Commission, investigators have to be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) as Arson Investigators. Investigators must attend regular training in order to maintain certification and be up to date on the most advanced methods of fire investigation.
The Fire Marshal's Office treats every fire scene as a possible crime scene in order to properly preserve any evidence of what may have been the cause. In some cases the cause of the fire may be accidental due to faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, candles, smoking materials such as cigarettes, faulty motors, cooking fires, or any other type of accidental fires. Some fires are natural, caused by decomposition of materials (a compost pile), lightning, or spontaneous combustion of some chemicals.
In other cases, the fire may be incendiary (arson), meaning that the fire was intentionally started. Some common motives for setting intentional fires are for profit (insurance fraud), revenge, and concealment of another crime (such as a home invasion, drug house, homicide, vehicle used in a robbery), and vandalism,
If you have any questions about fire investigations, please contact the Fire Marshal's Office.