North Carolina Establishes New Fire Investigation Unit

The North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal, headed up by North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey, has established a new Fire Investigations Unit (FIU) to assist the state’s fire service and law enforcement agencies.

As of January 1, the FIU will respond on request or assist agencies in investigating all fire deaths, any death in a multi-family dwelling due to carbon monoxide poisoning, fire loss in all state properties and examine fire losses greater than $500,000.

Causey said the unit is designed to provide additional resources to state agencies, “which will strengthen their ability to examine the source of fires and protect our state’s residents and property,” he said.

“We cannot have an effective fire prevention and education program throughout the state without being at the front end of fire investigation,” said Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor. “It is our duty to report to the legislature the nature of fire problems that exist in our state. This unit will be able to supply the needed data to update the state’s Risk Reduction Program.”

In 2017, the N.C. General Assembly appropriated funding for two fire investigator positions to jumpstart the unit.

The FIU will be divided into two regions: Retired Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agent Bill Marshall will head the eastern region. Catawba County Deputy Fire Marshal Jason Boggs will be assigned to the Western region.

Others contributing to the unit will include two North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigators (CID) to assist with law enforcement functions. The N.C. General Assembly also sanctioned for an arson and homicide special prosecutor to assist local district attorneys to prosecute difficult cases.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is responsible for training fire and rescue personnel, rating fire departments, administering the state building code, securing property insurance for state-owned buildings and more.

Source: North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal