North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey — who also serves as the State Fire Marshal — announced on January 2, 2018 the department has established a Fire Investigations Unit to assist the state’s fire service and law enforcement agencies.
Said Commissioner Causey:
“A fire death or large industrial fire could task local resources. This unit is designed to provide additional resources to agencies, which will strengthen their ability to examine the source of fires and protect our state’s residents and property.”
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.
Said Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor:
“We cannot have an effective fire prevention and education program throughout the state without being at the front end of fire investigation. 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 NC General Assembly appropriated funding for two fire investigator positions to jump-start 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 DOI Criminal Investigators (CID) to assist with law enforcement functions. The NC 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 (OSFM) is responsible for training fire and rescue personnel, rating fire departments, administering the state building code, securing property insurance for state-owned buildings and much more. Visit www.NCDOI.com/OSFM.
A memo (below) was issued in late December notifying statewide fire chiefs, marshals, and law enforcement of the new Fire Investigations Unit.
Source: Linzy Cook, NC Office of the State Fire Marshal