Fire and Arson Investigation System

MA uses a witness-driven mult-jurisdictional approach to fire investigation

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).

Fire Investigation

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 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, fires causing fatal or serious injuries or which damage state property or any public records.

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.

Additional Resources for Fire Investigation

Investigation Methods

The State Fire Marshal's investigators are most often called in to join with rural, suburban or urban fire service and law enforcement investigators in a "team" probe of large scale fires, arsons, and fires or explosions which result in injury or death. When a fire or explosion is in a category with federal jurisdiction, specially trained agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will join the investigative team. It is our policy to consult with a prosecutor whenever the investigation reveals a possible criminal act.

Additional Resources for Investigation Methods

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