You are the Fire Chief of Wade Gardens, FL. Your department does not have a large enough budget to support a state certified fire investigator. For suspicious fires you need to contact the State Fire Investigator. However, one member of your department, who has been with the fire department for 25 years, has taken some arson investigator courses at the state fire academy. She serves as the lead investigator for your department and is summoned to suspicious fires to determine if the State Fire Investigator needs to be notified.
In a minimum of three paragraphs, describe how you would expect your firefighting crews to handle fire scenes where the line firefighters suspected that the fire was suspicious in nature, and possibly arson. Given that you would need to summon a State Fire Investigator, and it would likely be a number of hours until this individual arrived, briefly state your expectations of the personnel you would have on scene in terms of preserving evidence, securing the scene, and documenting the situation until the State Fire Investigator arrived on scene.
Due to our budget constraints, currently we do not have a staffed fire investigation unit. We do have personal that have taken classes at the State Fire academy and will act in such rolls. These personal will make the determination if we as a department will make the request of the State to assist.
To assist our trained personal, I am asking every person that is assigned to the Fire suppression division, if you see something say something to your superior officer or the Incident Commander. This will assist us in getting our personal trained in investigation on the road to the scene earlier. Also, by saying something to a superior officer or the incident commander, the team on the scene can begin to also look for other clues.
If you are the first arriving apparatus crew, or the crew that finds that there is a possibly need for investigation you will be remaining on scene until you speak to the investigator. Each crew member will be interviewed to obtain what was seen and where each crew went. The first arriving crew will be there to assist the investigator with hands, and lights for the investigation. This should not be more than a few hours after the remainder of the box has returned. If there is a need for longer than that then crews will be rotated out until a off duty crew can be called in.
If the state investigation unit is called, then the assistance crews will be staffed with overtime personal and all on duty personal will be returned to service. This is to keep our minimum staffing per district with out moving apparatus from other parts of the town.
If you have any questions or ideas on how we can make this work better, please let me or one of the other chiefs know.
Being the Fire Chief of Wade Gardens, FL when a fire is suspected of being arson over a fire that was caused naturally, we would need to preserve the scence. No one would be allowed on the property or too leave without being spoken too. In this case because it maybe hour before the person gets to you, you will need to make sure that the fire is out fully. Once the fire is contained you would then have the lady that has experience with arson investigation come out and start investigating.
During this time, she will take a look over fire scene completely from all angles. She will take pictures and take notes about the fire. She will collect evidence or take note of all things that are related to the fire that can help with determining the cause. She is going to be the eyes of the fire. With it being arson, you will want your men to look for the possible starting points to have it marked for the investigator. You will question the homeowners to get a time frame of when the fire was first noticed and question the neighbors to see anything was seen out of the ordinary. Take note of weather, wind, and temperature at the time of fire.
By having you finding ready for the investigator they will be able to see if they saw everything you and your crew saw as a point of origin and if you felt it was arson. You can walk them though the fire pointing out the findings and show them the important details and point them in the direction of people that saw something. It’s better to have the information ready to make their job easier and to have everything noted before the weather changes or something happens and they can’t make it.