About Fire Investigations

If a fire cannot be prevented, a clear cause must be determined.

The ability to examine a fire scene and reconstruct the sequence of events that took place is part:

  • Skills – used to examine burn patterns and characteristics.
  • Science - used to analyze materials that burned or may have failed.

When put together, a clear picture of how a fire started usually begins to take shape. It is the skilled fire investigator that can put these two together to know who, what, how, and when a fire started.

Knowing how a fire started can provide valuable information that can lead to:

  • Processes that we use daily
    • The public can be educated on how best to prevent similar fires in the future.
  • Safer products
    • Defective products can be recalled.


  • Account for tens of thousands of fires annual
  • Intentionally set fires

If arson is suspected, Chesterfield Fire & EMS Fire Marshal's team up with Chesterfield Police Detectives to solve the crime.

Special Units

Fire Marshal's Investigation Unit - for complex incidents, a specially equipped van, responds to the scene. The equipment contained in this unit can:

  • Conduct Field Tests and Sampling
  • Collect Evidence
  • Document Scene

Central Virginia Arson Task Force - Participating jurisdictions are available to provide support and technical assistance to other member jurisdictions as needed.

Report Arson

If you know of a suspected arson fire in Chesterfield County, email the Fire Life & Safety Division, call 804-748-1426 or contact Chesterfield County / Colonial Heights Crime Solvers.