Arson investigations are conducted to determine the cause of a fire to ensure the responsible party is held accountable. Arson investigators who are forensic investigators who will often testify in court as an expert witness regarding their techniques that they utilized in gathering evidence for or against the suspect. These specialized investigators are often retired fire fighters or trained professionals with in-depth knowledge of types of fuel, how each fuel ignites and accelerates, and the impact each fuel has on the development of a fire.
Most professional firefighters admit that arson is difficult to prove and difficult to prosecute in court. After all, the very nature of fire ensures that much evidence is completely incinerated. Arson accounts for billions of dollars in lost and damaged property annually, but only about 17% of arson-related blazes result in arrests. If you’re affected by a fire, you’ll want a thorough investigation conducted.
Who Needs An Arson Investigator?
You might want a fire investigator if:
- You or someone in your family has been accused of arson. A qualified and experienced arson investigator , can help arm you with the information and the facts you need to stand up in court.
- Your home or property has been affected by fire. Losing any property to fire is devastating, as well as expensive. A qualified fire investigator can determine whether a blaze was accidental or was an attack against you and your property. This can give you the information you need to protect yourself and your family.
- You are an insurer. Insurance companies lose billions of dollars annually on arson. A fire investigator can work to determine the exact cause of a blaze in order to determine how much compensation a policyholder will receive. If you are an insurance policyholder, a fire investigator can help ensure that you get the insurance money that you are entitled to.
How Does a Fire Investigator Works?
When you hire professional arson investigators or private investigators with experience in fire investigation, you will first be asked to give all the details you can about the events leading up to the fire. The fire investigator will then visit the scene of the incident and will speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident. At the scene, the private fire investigator will photograph and document the damage and evidence and collect evidence such as charred wood, metal, glass, and accelerant residue. The investigator will then test the materials to establish facts about the cause of the fire. The fire investigator may choose to use surveillance because arsonists often return to the scene of the crime. Additionally, the investigator will conduct background checks of any known suspects, checking for previous charges and motives.
- Scene investigation, cause and origin determination, post-event reconstruction
- Simulation of fire growth and development
- Loss assessment
- Aid to general insurance surveyor
- Code compliance & protocol assessment
- Expert witness testimony