The Fire Investigation unit is charged with determining the origin and cause of all unknown cause and/or suspicious fires and explosions occurring within the jurisdiction of the Denver Fire Department.
All fire investigators have successfully completed the Denver Police Training Academy
and received further training and certification from the National Association of Fire Investigators. This unit is responsible for enforcing the Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to criminal law, the Denver Fire Code, and Sections of the Revised Municipal Code as they pertain to fire investigation and related offenses.
Understanding fire cause is vital to the safety of the community so that preventive measures may be strengthened and unlawful acts prosecuted. Investigators conduct criminal investigations on all incidents involving suspicious or illegal fire-related activities.
During the course of an investigation, the scene will be photographed and documented, evidence collected and processed, witnesses/victims interviewed and suspects interrogated. Search and arrest warrants may be filed and served; case filings may be prepared for the District Attorney’s Office. This is a process filled with scientific, professional, and personal challenges unmatched in other fields of forensic science.
Other applications of the data gathered during a fire investigation may include:
- Addition of critical and perhaps previously unrecognized information to the Fire Department incident report.
- Documentation of the necessary elements for fire modeling, based on engineering reconstruction and failure analysis. This type of modeling can reveal fuel load, building construction, and fire suppression factors that resulted in the final outcome of smoke and fire movement.
- Providing additional information required by both the insurance company and the insured to help settle or deny insurance claims, and providing input regarding insurance loss adjustment.
- Establishing the proof necessary to bring both civil and criminal cases to trial.
- Making available anecdotal evidence that will help improve inspections and public education programs, as well as improve design practices and creating recommendations for code changes.
Fire Investigation Unit