Section I-17

Fire Investigations

Purpose:  To establish guidelines for any situation that may require further investigation by the appropriate law and fire agency.

Scope:  This policy pertains to all personnel within Three Star Fire Department who participate in an emergency call where an investigation is likely to be needed.

Situations will arise when suspicious activity or events may require further investigation to reveal the real cause, or sequence of events.  Three Star Fire Department is not trained to conduct such investigations and is required to request further assistance as soon as possible during or after the incident.

Policy:

The Incident Commander may request the assistance of law enforcement, the Covington Fire Investigator, and/or other investigative bodies as appropriate to the specific incident and the particular jurisdiction.  In the event of either a fire fatality or a estimated property loss in excess of $250,000, the Incident Commander will request the Fire Investigator from Tipton County (Covington Fire Department).  These requests must go through Central Dispatch for coordination.  The appropriate police or other law enforcement agency with jurisdiction must also be notified.

If the Incident Commander deems that the fire was suspicious in nature and requests investigative assistance, then it is essential to protect the fire scene and any potential evidence by keeping overhaul to a minimum.  Furniture and other items should not be disturbed or moved if possible, and unnecessary personnel should be kept out of the fire area in order to maintain the integrity of a possible crime scene.

When operating at a possible crime scene, the Incident Commander must ensure that the Three Star Fire Department maintains control over the scene with at least one engine and a hose line in the vicinity of the structure until released by the appropriate investigative law enforcement agency.

The Incident Commander must do whatever possible to assist investigators in determining the cause and origin of a fire or explosion.