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State Police Fire Investigation Unit

Massachusetts' approach to fire investigation utilizes the scientific method and multi-agency partnerships.

Specially trained Massachusetts State Police personnel have functioned as investigators for the State Fire Marshal's office for more than 50 years. The Fire Investigation Unit works with local fire departments, police departments, prosecutors' offices, and other stakeholders. Together, they determine the origin and cause of fires that hurt people or damage property.

Fire Investigation

Fire investigators on scene

The Fire Investigation Unit is part of the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Section, a unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal's office. It has about 20 members assigned to four regional teams: North, South, Central, and West. This includes several 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 Massachusetts State Fire Marshal is mandated to investigate the cause and circumstances of 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 classified as suspicious or incendiary nature. By administrative order, the State Fire Marshal also investigates cases involving explosive devices, blast explosions, and fires that cause fatal or serious injuries or which damage state property or any public records.

Local public safety officials can request State Police fire investigators at 978-567-3310 during business hours.

To request resources after hours or on weekends or holidays, 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 on-call fire investigator contact you immediately.

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