While prevention of fires and accidents remains the priority of the Fire Department, inevitably fires do occur. When that happens, the Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal is responsible for conducting the investigation to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Our investigators are State certified and continually train to gain knowledge in areas such as identifying the origin and cause, burn patterns, interviewing witnesses and scientific analysis.
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, When a fire is determined to be arson, the Fire Marshal's Office conducts a full criminal investigation aggressively pursuing those individuals responsible and will file the case with the Tarrant County District Attorney.
If you have any questions about fire investigations please contact the Fire Marshal's Office.