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Fire Investigations conducted during 2014
Did you know that CFA Fire Investigators attended over 800 fire scenes across the State in 2014 to conduct investigations into the origin and cause of fires?
This is the highest number of fire investigations conducted in one year in the overall history of the CFA Fire Investigation Program.
Fire Investigators are CFA personnel who have received specialist training in the areas of Structural & Vehicle Fire Investigation and/or Bushfire Investigation.
During 2014, the Fire Investigators attended the following types of fire scenes:
- Over 480 structure fires ranging from residential properties, sheds / garages, schools, factories, commercial buildings, retail outlets and office buildings. This also included a number of significant structure fires that occurred during 2014.
- Over 260 bushfires, grass fires and vegetation fires. This also include a number of the significant bushfires and also series of suspicious grass fires that occurred during the 2013/14 Fire Season
- Over 55 vehicle fires involving cars, trucks and large machinery
The role of a Fire Investigator is to determine the origin and cause of structural, vehicle and/or bushfires.
Fire Investigators attend scenes when a fire has resulted in a fatality, serious injury or significant loss or damage; when the origin or cause of the fire cannot be determined; fire is suspicious in nature or when CFA property is involved.
Fire Investigators are required to work and liaise with other agencies involved in the investigation of a fire scene to determine the origin and cause of the fires.
These agencies include the Victoria Police Arson & Explosives Squad and/or Criminal Investigation Units, Forensic Services – Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) and/or Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) Electrical or Gas Safety.
Following the attendance at a fire scene, the Fire Investigators complete a detailed Fire Investigation Report using the online Fire Investigation Management System (FIMS).
In the years following the investigation into the fire, Fire Investigators may be called to act as a witness in a Court of Law in a Civil, Criminal and/or Coronial case.
Through conducting the fire investigations and the identification of fire trends, this can result in the following outcomes:
- Potential fire fighting hazards identified and information issued through Safety Alerts and Operations Bulletins to CFA Fire-fighters;
- Product Safety Recalls of appliances, accessories, equipment and vehicles that have been identified as causing fires;
- Supportive evidence to accurately evaluate legislation, standards, regulations and codes;
- Arrest and prosecution of individuals by the Victoria Police for suspicious fires and acts of criminal damage by fire.
- Evaluation and development of fire prevention strategies such as community fire safety, education programs and media safety campaigns;
- Identification and referral of children to the Juvenile Fire Awareness and Intervention Program (JFAIP)
Further information relating to the Fire Investigation Program is available via CFA Intranet / Brigades Online website at: Fire & Emergencies > Fire Investigation
State Fire Investigation Coordinator Nicole Harvey