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.
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
Business Hours: 978- 567-3310
Arson Hotline: 1-800-682-9229
Main Fax: 978-567-3119
24-Hour Emergency Activation
Call your State Police Troop Duty Officer directly or call State Police Dispatch at 508-820-2121 and ask to be connected. Tell the Troop Duty Officer to have the Fire Investigator or the State Police Bomb Technician on-call contact you immediately.
Fire Investigator Certification
Fire investigator certification in Massachusetts is provided to stimulate the professional development of public safety fire investigators in Massachusetts by allowing eligible members a means to demonstrate their ability to meet professional qualification standards through an objective measure of their professional knowledge, skills, and abilities. The Massachusetts Public Safety Fire Investigator Certification Coalition is authorized by the Secretary of Public Safety to provide public safety fire investigator certification for the Commonwealth. The Coalition is made from representatives of the Massachusetts Fire Training Council, The Massachusetts Municipal Police Committee and the Massachusetts State Police. For more information read the Frequently Asked Questions on the process.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director George Kramlinger are pleased to announce that 24 public safety officers completed the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s six-day Advanced Fire Investigation course on April 27, 2016. They represent these agencies: Bedford Fire Department, Boston Fire Department, Cambridge Fire Department, Chicopee Fire Department, Clinton Fire Department, Department of Fire Services, Everett Fire Department, Everett Police Department, Haverhill Fire Department, Lynn Fire Department, Malden Police Department, Mass. State Police, Maynard Fire Department, Millbury Fire Department, Oxford Fire Department, Sandwich Fire Department, Spencer Fire Department, Spencer Police Department, Springfield Fire Department, Tyngsborough Fire Department, and Webster Fire Department.
The U.S. Fire Administration's Arson Awareness Week theme for 2016 is Prevent Wildland Fires – Spread Facts Not Fire. While Massachusetts may not have the same kind of wildland fires that they do in the western US, but we do have wildland fires that tax our firefighting resources.