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Richmond VA > Fire Department > Prevention > Fire Investigation

Last Updated: 2010-01-12

Fire Investigation

The Fire Investigation Section as its name implies, investigates the cause of fires. Prevention of future fires through knowledge gained in these investigations is a major goal. The discovery of, arrest and conviction of all arsonists is also a major focus of the units' members. Determining the origin and cause of a fire can also serve the following purposes:

  • Gives those involved a piece of mind as to exactly what happened.
  • Provides valuable information which can be used in civil litigation.
  • Provides data on equipment failures which may lead to the need for a manufacturers recall.
  • Provides subject matter or statistical data that can be used in our community safety programs.
  • Provides data which may lead to keeping insurance rates down.
  • In arson cases, a thorough investigation can lead to the arrest and conviction of those involved. This provides the community the satisfaction that the perpetrator has been apprehended.

The Investigation unit is staffed jointly by fire and police personnel. They are initially trained through the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP). They meet or exceed the requirements of State Statute 27-34.2:1 and the requirements of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Bi-annual recertification is managed through VDFP and DCJS approved courses. The scope of responsibilities includes investigation of all fires occurring in the city with $30,000 in loss; incidents of arson; bomb threats; post blast bombings; pre-blast devices; explosions; and all fatalities involving fire in the city. The unit members are on call 24/7. They participate in the Metro Region Arson Task Force which facilitates either giving or receiving assistance from arson investigators in the surrounding jurisdictions as well as state and federal agencies (Virginia State Police, FBI and ATF). Team members gather, collect and process evidence; perform an investigation; prepare a case file and court case; present the case in court in conjunction with the commonwealth's attorney; and close the case after prosecution. Members typically function as their own forensics technicians by gathering and processing evidence, taking their own photographs, submission of items to the state lab and notification of next of kin in fatality cases. Our investigators are available to address your school, civic or business group. Call (804)646-6640 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to schedule an event.

Contact Information:

Fire Department
City of Richmond
201 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-2500

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