skip to content

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Fire Investigation Figures Revealed

17/05/2012

Latest figures reveal that Staffordshire’s 17 Fire Investigation Officers spent a total of 737 hours determining the causes of fires last year.

“Working alongside the police and forensic investigators there is still a lot of information and evidence that can be retrieved from an incident and contrary to popular belief DNA can still be recovered from the scene of a fire.”

Station Manager, Paul Richins

The figures come just days after Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service released information that over 200 fires were deliberately started in commercial buildings and homes between April 2011 and March 2012.

Station Manager, Paul Richins, who leads the fire investigation team, said: “We have a team of fire investigation officers that are sent to establish the causes of fires and they don’t just opt for the most obvious case. The role involves gathering information from the scene, capturing photo evidence and interviewing both the first firefighters on the scene and people in the vicinity prior to, or at the time of the incident.

“Working alongside the police and forensic investigators there is still a lot of information and evidence that can be retrieved from an incident and contrary to popular belief DNA can still be recovered from the scene of a fire.”

For more complex investigations the Service calls on colleagues in West Midlands for further assistance from dedicated full time fire investigator officers, and in some cases, hydrocarbon search dogs.

Station Manager, Paul Richins continued: “We use the hydrocarbon search dogs for fires which we suspect have been deliberately set. If the perpetrator has used petrol or any other accelerant to ignite the fire the dog will find it, as a dog’s senses are 200 times more sensitive than humans. Using this method during one investigation at a warehouse fire in Staffordshire, the dog found exactly where the fire had been started in just 20 seconds.

“It’s really important for us to establish exact causes to fires, so we can work alongside the police to catch those responsible, if the fire was started deliberately or prevent a similar incident happening again if an investigation establishes the fire was started accidentally.”