Any fire that occurs within the Town of Andover is investigated by a trained and certified fire investigator who is a member of Andover Fire Rescue.
The Andover Fire Rescue Fire investigator is currently certified by the Massachusetts Public Safety Fire Investigator Coalition, which is authorized by the Secretary of Public Safety, to provide public safety fire investigator certification for the Commonwealth. This training certification is provided to stimulate the professional development of public safety fire investigators in Massachusetts by allowing eligible members a means to demonstrate their ability to meet professional qualification standards through an objective measure of their professional knowledge, skills and abilities.
This investigator is called upon to assist the Fire Chief in an effort to determine the cause and origin of a fire or explosion. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148 Section 2 requires, “The head of a fire department in a city, town, or district wherein a fire or explosion has destroyed or damaged property shall investigate the cause and circumstances thereof in order to determine if such fire or explosion was caused by carelessness or design or shall cause such an investigation to be made by a member of the fire department of such city, town, or district. They shall begin such investigation forthwith after such fire or explosion, and if it appears the official making such investigation that the fire or explosion is of suspicious origin or is the result of a violation of law, or if he is unable to determine the cause, he shall immediately notify the marshal.”
When the Andover Fire Rescue investigator is not available or requires additional resources to conduct the fire investigation, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Fire and Explosive Investigative Unit will be requested to respond and assist the Fire Chief and/or the AFR investigator.
This unit consists of thirty-two Massachusetts State Police officers who make up the Fire Investigation Unit and the State Police Bomb Squad. Specially trained Massachusetts State Police detectives have functioned as State Fire Marshal Investigators for over fifty years.
The Andover Fire Rescue fire investigator collaborates with not only state and occasionally federal agencies but constantly works with many personnel from local agencies such as the Andover Police Department in an effort to bring these investigations to a rapid close.