NC Fire Marshal's Office Creates Investigative Unit

The new Fire Investigations Unit will respond on request or assist agencies in investigating all fire deaths, any death in a multi-family dwelling from carbon monoxide poisoning, fire loss in all state properties, and fire losses larger than $500,000.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who is also the State Fire Marshal, announced Jan. 2 that the department has created a Fire Investigations Unit to assist the state's fire service and law enforcement agencies. "A fire death or large industrial fire could task local resources," he said. "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."

The N.C. General Assembly appropriated funding last year for two fire investigator positions to launch the unit.

Its personnel will respond on request or assist agencies in investigating all fire deaths, any death in a multi-family dwelling from carbon monoxide poisoning, fire loss in all state properties, and fire losses larger than $500,000.

"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."

The new unit is divided into two regions: Retired Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Agent Bill Marshall will head the eastern region and 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 to assist with law enforcement functions; the General Assembly also approved having an Arson and Homicide Special Prosecutor to assist local district attorneys to prosecute difficult cases.

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