A fire investigator’s job description includes several responsibilities. Obviously, investigating fires is a primary job function, but this position also has other responsibilities. A fire investigator is a public servant who works for a specific government agency. He might be employed a city, township, or county. He or she is dispatched to a fire when one is reported, but he or she does not participate in firefighting or rescue. Instead, her job begins after the fire has been extinguished.
The job of a fire investigator is to determine the cause of a fire after it has been extinguished. He or she determines what started a fire in the same way a coroner determines the cause of death for people. By examining the scene, he must determine the cause of a fire and whether it was accidental or intentional.
If a fire investigator suspects arson after locating the source of the fire, her job is to look for any evidence that can be used to identify suspects and build a strong case for law enforcement. The scene of the fire becomes a crime scene in cases of arson, and an investigator may work with a team to complete the investigation. Intentionally set fires necessitate a more thorough and time-consuming investigation than unintentional fires. When a fire is determined to be accidental, no criminal charges are filed, and the investigator gives the property owner a written report, which he or she can then give to the insurance company.
A fire investigator may be responsible for assisting with inspections of public facilities in addition to determining the cause of fires. Businesses are required to follow specific fire codes, which are inspected every year. In smaller rural towns, a fire investigator may also serve as an inspector, and in larger cities, he or she may assist inspectors with their duties.
Although the educational requirements for becoming a fire investigator vary municipality, some formal training and education are required. It’s possible that someone in this position has been trained and is licensed to carry weapons. During routine investigations, he may also employ the use of cameras and other tools.
Many fire investigators begin their careers in other departments of the fire department. They are civil servants, and as such, they are entitled to civil servant benefits. Some jurisdictions have residency requirements for their public service employees and may require that those who work on the police and fire departments live within the limits of the city that they serve.