Fire Investigator

Dig through the ashes to find the cause of fires.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $85,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Fire Investigators do?

Sleuth, Detective, Examiner, Investigator — a Fire Investigator is all these things. As a Fire Investigator, you use your knowledge and investigative skills to uncover the cause of fires. Because you’re an expert on how fires ignite and burn, you’re able to identify burn patterns and other evidence.

Fire Investigators are also tasked with interviewing witnesses and recording findings. This evidence helps you identify whether the fire began from an electrical outlet, space heater, candle, grease, chemical spill, or malfunctioning appliance.

If the fire is deemed accidental, you write up a report for the homeowner, who can then turn it in to the insurance company as evidence of damage. If arson is suspected, the site is closed off so you and a team of specialists can gather evidence. The evidence is used to find suspects, and is also used in court if someone is charged with the crime. In the latter case, you appear in court and explain your findings to the Judge and jury.

In addition to fire investigation, you might also assist with or perform inspections on public buildings. These inspections are generally done annually to make sure the sprinkler systems and smoke detectors are working properly. You also review exits and emergency spill procedures, and issue fines for any violations.

This job requires a trained eye, diligence, strong listening skills, an inquisitive attitude, and attention to detail. The results of your investigation help incarcerate criminals, reimburse victims, and bring peace of mind to homeowners.

Should I be a Fire Investigator?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Arson and Bomb Investigator, Arson Investigator, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator See More

    How to become a Fire Investigator

    Most Fire Investigators have an Associate's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:s9jpaa&chl=no+college+%2814%25%29|certificate+%2847%25%29|associate%27s+%2827%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2812%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,14,47
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