Office of The Fire Marshal

Guilford

Investigations

Welcome to the Guilford Office of The Fire Marshal investigations area. Here you can find information about our investigators as well as file an anonymous tip that may help our team with an investigation.

     It is our hope that you never have to experience being involved in a fire. It can be one of the most frightening events of your life. We want you to understand the process that is required by our investigators if a fire were to occur. 

     It is important to answer all the questions that an investigator may ask. It is understandable that answering questions may be the last thing you want to do after a fire but it is one of the most important steps to take to assist you and your insurance company with filing a claim. Some questions may feel a little intimidating but understand that the questions are meant to assist the investigator with reconstructing the scene prior to the fire. These are generic questions asked at every fire.

Why do investigators have to investigate every fire?

Fire investigators are required by Connecticut State Statute to investigate all fires as seen below.

Connecticut General Statutes 29-311 – Fire investigations. 

(a) The State Fire Marshal, any local fire marshal within the local fire marshal’s jurisdiction, and all duly authorized fire and police personnel acting within their jurisdiction may enter into and upon any premises or building where any fire or explosion has occurred and premises adjacent thereto, without liability for trespass or damages reasonably incurred, to conduct investigations in accordance with sections 29-302 and 29-310, under the following circumstances and conditions:

(1) During an emergency by reason of fire or explosion on any premises, they or any of them may, without a warrant, enter such premises during the suppression of the fire or explosion or within a reasonable period of time following the suppression thereof and remain for a reasonable period of time following the suppression of the fire or explosion to: (A) Investigate in order to determine the cause and origin of the fire or explosion, (B) prevent the intentional or unintentional destruction of evidence, and (C) prevent a rekindling of the fire.

(2) After expiration of a reasonable period of time following the suppression of the fire or explosion, they or any of them shall apply in writing under oath to any judge of the Superior Court for a warrant to enter upon the premises to determine the cause and origin of the fire or explosion, if such cause or origin has not been previously determined. The application shall describe: (A) The premises under investigation, (B) the owner or occupant of the premises, if reasonably ascertainable, (C) the date and time the fire or explosion which is the subject of the investigation was reported to a police or fire agency, and (D) the dates and times during which the investigative activities to determine the cause and origin of such fire or explosion are to be conducted. The judge to whom an application for a warrant is made may issue such a warrant upon finding that the requirements of this subsection have been met, and that the proposed activities are a reasonable intrusion onto the private premises to determine the cause and origin of the fire or explosion.

(b) The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection shall, within available appropriations, provide quarterly reports to the Insurance Commissioner detailing all cases in which it has been determined that a fire or explosion was the result of arson.

What are some questions an investigator may ask me?

Some of the most common questions asked by investigators can be seen below. Although these are the most common they may be additional questions asked. Always answer these questions to the best of your knowledge.

(1) What time did you notice the fire?

(2) Where was the fire first located?

(3) Rapidity and spread of fire?

(4) What did you see/hear/smell?

(a) Did you hear an explosion?

(b) Color of smoke/flame?

(5) Any activity around the scene before/after the fire?

(a) Anyone seen leaving before/during the fire?

(b) Were owners/occupants at the scene?

(6) Vehicles? (Did any vehicles leave the scene?)

Providing the investigator with as much factual information as you can. This will help provide information that can assist with reconstructing the scene to figure out where and how the fire started.

What if I saw something suspicious before or during the fire? Should I say anything?

If you witness suspicious activity before, during, or after a fire it is important to report what you saw to the investigator. If you cannot find an investigator at the scene you can ask a police officer for assistance. 

I saw something suspicious but I am afraid to say anything.

We understand it can be frightening to report something. That is why we have the option for you to report it anonymously. You can contact the Stae of CT Arson Tip Line at 1800-84-ARSON. A reward up to $2500.00 is offered in some cases to information leading to a conviction in an arson case.