What is a Fire Investigation?

Fire investigation, sometimes referred to as origin and cause investigation, is the analysis of fire-related incidents. After firefighters extinguisher a fire, an investigation is launched to determine the origin and cause of the fire or explosion. Investigations of such incidents are done using a systematic approach and knowledge of basic fire science. 

Fire Investigation is one of the most difficult of the forensic sciences to practice. In most forensic disciplines. even the basic question of whether a crime has been committed id normally obvious. During a fire investigation, an entire process must be undertaken just to determine if the case involves arson or not. The difficulty of determining whether an arson fire has occurred or not, arises because fires destroy evidence. 

It is the responsibility of the department's investigators to conduct origin and cause investigations at all fires. The division's primary obligations are scene examination, discovery, evidence recovery, photography, and documentation of the findings. Collecting and maintaining information from incident reports is an added function of the division. 

After a fire has been extinguished, the fire investigator must determine where the fire originated and what caused the fire to ignite. The investigator must then determine whether the fire was accidental or intentional by examining the scene and the evidence.

If after locating the origin of the fire, a fire investigator suspects arson, the job is to look for any evidence that can be used to determine suspects and build a solid case for law enforcement. In cases of arson, the site of the fire also becomes a crime scene, and an investigator will typically work with a team of people to complete the investigation. Intentionally set fires require a more detailed and lengthy investigation than accidental fires. When a fire is ruled accidental, no criminal charges are filed, and the investigator provides a written report to the property owner, which he or she in turn can provide to their insurance company.

The average citizen is a wealth of information if he or she is observant at the time of discovery. if you need to report a fire, dial 9-1-1 immediately, while taking mental notes of what you see. The following are some of the most important questions that need answering:

The answers to these questions are very important to the fire investigator(s) to accurately determine the origin and cause of the fire. 

Many times, witnesses see and hear important events, but do not inform the firefighters or fire investigators on the scene. When a person leaves without telling the authorities what they saw or what they know, that information may be lost forever. Please help us solve these destructive puzzles. Fire safety is a community project. Help your community by helping Catoosa County Fire Department. PLEASE SHARE YOUR INFORMATION!

Catoosa County Fire Department's Fire Investigation Unit investigates the origin and cause of all structural and building fires that occur within Catoosa County Fire Department's response district. The Fire Investigation Unit has five certified fire investigators on staff. An investigator is assigned to respond to all structure fires to conduct origin and cause investigations. Often, multiple fire investigators respond to the scene to work the scene as an investigative team. This concept allows for more investigator safety while working the scene.

All CCFD fire investigators are trained to meet or exceed all requirements set forth by NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigators. Each fire investigation is conducted in a systematic manner using scientific methodology and NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.

CCFD fire investigators are members of the following associations:

If you have any information related to a fire, please contact our office at (706)861-4194 or email If the fire is a suspected arson, please contact our office or GA Arson Control at 1-800-282-5804 or

Fire reports and investigation reports typically have a five-day turn-around time. Larger incidents may take longer depending on the complexity of the incident and/or the investigation. If you are seeking a fire or investigation report, you may do so by calling our office at (706)861-4194.