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 must be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) as Arson Investigators. Investigators must attend regular training to maintain certification and be current on the most advanced fire investigation methods.
The Fire Marshal's Office treats every fire scene as a possible crime scene to properly preserve any evidence of what may have been the cause. In some cases, the cause of the fire may be accidental. Examples of unintentional fires include faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, candles, smoking materials such as cigarettes, defective motors, and cooking fires. Some fires are natural, caused by material decomposition (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, 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 get in touch with the Fire Marshal's Office.