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Fire Investigations

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About the Fire Investigations Section
Fire investigators looking through debris at fire scene

The Fire Investigations section is part of the Division of Fire and Building Safety of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS). Division fire investigators are authorized by the Indiana State Fire Marshal to conduct investigations pursuant to Indiana codes 22-14-2-4 and 22-14-2-8. All investigators are certified in fire and explosion investigation through IDHS as well as other professional associations such as the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). They are sworn law enforcement officers and can exercise police powers, including the ability to make arrests, conduct searches or seizures of people or property, and carry firearms.

The Fire Investigations section annually investigates about 600 fires and explosions. The investigators diligently work each case utilizing practices and procedures outlined in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations. The investigators are also required to be compliant with the NFPA 1033 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator. The section employs the latest technology and investigative techniques to determine the causes and circumstances of fires and explosions and to apprehend and prosecute those who commit arson. Scene of an exploded structure in rural area with burned building materials scattered

All fire departments in the State of Indiana are required to investigate and determine the causes and circumstances for each fire occurring in their territory, according to Indiana Code 36-8-17-7. The Fire Investigations section is a resource to fire departments, law enforcement agencies, the insurance industry and the public to assist with the investigations of fires and explosions that occur in the State of Indiana.

See the Fire Investigators page for investigator and K9 unit biographies.

Agencies only: Complete this form to report a fatal fire in Indiana.


Map with counties color-coded with each investigator

The section has 13 fire investigators. Each investigator is assigned a region of the state to cover; however, they can respond anywhere within the State of Indiana.

Services Offered

IDHS fire investigators work on fires and explosions that occur at houses, apartments and businesses. They also investigate automobile and watercraft fires and can also help with case reviews and joint scene examinations. The team utilizes a certified arson canine trained to detect accelerants at fire scenes and other dogs who can help find human remains.

Services provided by the investigators include the following:

  • Accelerant-detection canine
  • Cadaver-locating canines
  • Cellular data analysis
  • Evidence collection and handling
  • Expert-witness testimony
  • Fire and explosion origin and cause investigation
  • Interviews and interrogations
  • Scene documentation
  • Search and arrest warrants
  • Subpoena witnesses, books, documents or other evidence
  • Training

Investigation Report Requests

Contents of fire investigation files are withheld pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3-4 as law enforcement records and are only released through subpoena or to an insurance company pursuant to Indiana Code 27-2-13.

A "request for assistance" or "call log" are the only agency records which may be available for public disclosure. Requests for public records should be submitted via the Public Records Request Web Form.

Black arson canine walks through burned house wreckage with handler

Fire Investigation Frequently Asked Questions

Residential Fire Fatalities Map

IDHS fire investigators are often called to assist local jurisdictions in suspicious residential fires where a person died. The map below tracks the number of people who have died in a residential fire in each Indiana county, whether IDHS performed an investigation or not.