The primary function of the State Fire Marshal Investigations Division is to investigate the origin and cause of fires and explosions. Although Nebraska Revised Statute 81-506 assigns the responsibility for determining the origin and cause of fires to the local fire chief, investigation assistance to local fire departments remains a high priority for the division. The Investigations Division, led by a Chief Investigator, is sectioned into seven zones with an investigator stationed in each. All deputy investigators are certified law enforcement personnel, designated as Nebraska Special State Sheriffs.
Do I need to contact an investigator?
As the fire department incident commander, there are several circumstances under which contacting the State Fire Marshal Investigations Division for an investigation is a good practice. This chart walks you through the questions you need to ask when you have a fire to determine whether or not you should contact your dispatch center to request one of our investigators.
How to request an investigator:
To request the assistance of a fire investigator, fire departments or law enforcement agencies should contact their respective local dispatch center. Private citizens are not able to request SFM Investigators. Insurance companies that investigate the origin and cause of a fire not previously investigated by the State Fire Marshal Investigations Division or a delegated authority and determine the fire to be incendiary should contact the Chief of Investigations for assistance.
What to do until an investigator arrives:
- The fire department or law enforcement agency must remain on scene until an investigator arrives
- Limit scene entry to essential firefighters and law enforcement
- Suppress the fire and ventilate the structure
- Minimize disturbing the scene while conducting overhaul
- Protect items of value in place within the structure; if items are removed from structure ensure those items stay on scene for the investigator to examine
Resources after a fire:
- After the fire: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa_46.pdf
- Board Up: http://www.interfire.org/pdf/USFA%20Board%20Up.pdf
If you have information that will aid in the origin and cause of any fire investigation, contact the Arson hotline at 1-888-WY-ARSON.