Photo of a two story stucture where the wall has collapsedd

The Fire & Explosive Investigation Section consists of thirty-two Massachusetts State Police officers who make up the Fire Investigation Unit and the State Police Bomb Squad. Each unit has a self-contained command and control structure and a specific jurisdiction to serve. Many of the investigators have been cross-trained to assist the other sections in time of need.

Specially trained Massachusetts State Police detectives have functioned as State Fire Marshal investigators for more than fifty years. The Fire Investigation Unit has 17 members assigned to four regional teams: North, South Central and West. This includes six nationally certified accelerant detection canine teams (handlers and dogs).

By law, the local fire department is responsible for determining the origin and cause of each fire or explosion in its jurisdiction. The State Fire Marshal is mandated to investigate fires and explosions where local fire authorities are unable to determine the cause, where a violation of law exists, or when the fire or explosion is or may be incendiary nature.

The Fire Investigation Unit uses a witness-driven protocol based on the National Fire Protection Association Standard (NFPA) 921: Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations. Key to the protocol is a team concept of fire investigation where local fire and police, state police and sometimes federal investigators work together. 

accelerant detection canine teams

The State Police Bomb Squad has 12 bomb technicians, including nine nationally certified explosive detection canine teams (dogs and handlers). These teams are deployed regionally across the state. The F&EIS has many specialized resources available to assist municipal fire and police to conduct fire or explosion investigations. The state’s Bomb Squad has always been in the State Fire Marshals’ office, but has grown from two civilians to the 11 specially trained State Police officers today.

The office for the Fire & Explosion Investigation Section is located in the Department of Fire Services, State Road, Stow, MA 01775.

Contact the Fire and Explosion Investigation Section
24-Hour Emergency Activation pdf format of fiu_activation.pdf
: 508-820-2121
Business Hours: 978- 567-3310
Arson Hotline: 1-800-682-9229
Main Fax: 978-567-3119 

Fire and Police Graduate Advanced Fire Investigation Course
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director George Kramlinger are pleased to announce the graduation of 40 members of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s six-day Advanced Fire Investigation course on Thursday, May 14, 2015. This rigorous professional training provides fire, and state and local police officers with the advanced skills to accurately determine the origin and cause of fires in their jurisdictions and together, build solid, prosecutable cases. MORE

Arson Awareness Week, May 3 - 9, 2015

Arson Awareness dog checking burnt building

Accelerant Detection Canines - Sniffing Out Arson
The theme of Arson Awareness Week, is Accelerant Detection Canines – Sniffing Out Arson. State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said, "Massachusetts has successfully used AK-9s since 1990. These specially trained dogs help their partners, State Police fire investigators, to detect whether or not ignitable liquids were used to start a fire.” Read more about AK-9s and Arson Awareness week in this press release.