Firefighter Training, Leadership

Fire Cause and Determination

Issue 12 and Volume 160.

Question: Who is responsible for fire cause and determination in your department, and what is the level of training? As chief of fire prevention and, as such, Toledo’s fire marshal, I had the responsibility under the State Fire Code for determining the cause of every fire in the city. The code and the city charter permit me to delegate that responsibility to other trained individuals. In Toledo, our certified firefighters designated as fire investigators are trained in fire cause and determination, have police powers, and carry firearms. Until two or three years ago, a team of four trained investigators and an officer managed our Fire Investigation Unit (FIU). Because of budget cuts, we now have only one investigator for the entire city. The city administration is aware that with only one investigator, arrests and convictions will be down. The investigator has an extremely heavy case load. We hope that we…

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