FIRE & ARSON INVESTIGATIONS
The Fire & Arson Investigation Division of the Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office is a highly trained and specialized unit responsible for investigating fires within the Unincorporated Area's of Bexar County. The unit is staffed with six Investigators including a Lead Investigator. All six of these individuals are Certified Texas Peace Officers through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Combined, the Fire & Arson Division has over 92 years of Law Enforcement Experience. Each of the Investigators has some type of background with the Fire Service as well and some are still certified. Along with holding a Peace Officer Commission, each of the Investigators has to be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) as Arson Investigators. Each investigator must attend regular training in order to maintain certification and be up to date on the most advanced methods of Fire Investigation.
The Fire & Arson Investigation Division is also responsible for post blast investigations. This means that that the Investigators within this unit investigate explosions whether they be accidental industrial type explosions or criminal type explosions such as a bomb or other Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
The Fire & Arson Division treats every fire scene as a possible crime scene in order to properly preserve any evidence of what may have been the cause. A fire scene is investigated from the area of least damage working backwards towards the area of the most severe damage. In some cases the cause of the fire may be accidental due to faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, candles, smoking materials such as cigarettes, faulty motors, cooking fires, or any other type of accidental fires. Some fires are natural. In other words, caused by decompostion of materials (a compost pile), lightning, or spontaneous combustion of some chemicals.
In other cases, the fire may be incendiary (arson), meaning that the fire was intentionally started. Some common motives for setting intentional fires are for profit (insurance fraud), revenge, concealment of another crime (such as a home invasion, drug house, homicide, vehicle used in a robbery), vandalism, excitement, and extremism (extremist groups setting fires in order to further their cause). When a fire is determined to be arson, the investigators conduct a full criminal investigation aggressively pursuing those individuals responsible and execute arrest warrants, search warrants, and refer cases for prosecution with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney.
The Fire & Arson Division maintains a close working relationship with other Fire & Arson Investigation Agencies. The Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office Fire & Arson Division has jointly investigated fire scenes with other Local, State, and Federal Agencies.
In 2008, the Fire & Arson Division of the Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office investigated approximately 269 fires. These fires again vary from being accidental, natural, incendiary (arson), and in some cases the fire damage is so extreme that the fire is classified as undetermined. The Fire & Arson Division routinely investigates fires ranging from grass fires, shed fires, commercial fires, house/ apartment fires, vehicle fires, and construction equipment.
If you would like more information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (210)335-0300.
If you have information relating to a suspicious fire, please call us at 210-335-0300, Crime Stoppers at 210-207-7867, San Antonio Arson Hotline at 210-227-3473, or 1-877-4-FIRE-45 and remember, you may remain anonymous.
The Bexar County Fire Marshal's Office accepts, on a limited basis, applications for Part-Time Fire Investigators (Volunteer Position). Applications are thoroughly reviewed and only accepted as needed. The BCFMO conducts an intensive background investigation on all applicants and has the right to reject or disquality applicants for justifiable reasons. Applicants must possess experience, training and certification relevant to the position and must maintain a required minimum number of service hours. This application should be completed in conjunction with a current resume. If you have any questions concerning this application please contact the Fire Marshal's Office at 335-0300.