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Arson Investigator....

I think this is what id like to do in the fire service. How long does it ussually take to get this pos.? What are the common steps of promotion? Anything I can do, prior to me being hired on somewhere? ( someday )

Thank you

Be Safe

~ Dustin ~
~ Dustin ~

With L.A. County, you have to be at least a Firefighter Specialist (Engineer) to work as arson investigator. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of eight investigators and one Captain of that unit. You have to have quite a bit of time on to even have enough senority to get one of those spots (usually at least a 3-digit number out of 3,300+ employees). I'd like to do that to, but since my number is still around 2,200, I've got quite a few years to go yet.


There are two kinds of investigators one of them is a "cause and origing investigator" and the second is the actual ARSON investigator. You can start by taking two essential classes FIRE INVESTIGATION 1A AND FIRE INVESTIGATION 1B; typically 40 hour classes given all over the state after thattake the remainder two classes to get a certificate from the state, at my last class we had engineers and a couple of lawyers ect; in other words anyone can take these classes(cost around 175-250 dollars per class). After you take those classes you have to go the the first part of a police academy specifically the part of the law that deals with search and seizures, power of arrest ect.
The good thing is with those four classes you can start working for private companies such as mutual of omaha, hartford ect, they will hire you to investigate the cause or origin of some fires in houses or business they insure. In my neck of the woods with over 400 structure fires a year you can make some decent cash, so my advice is take the classes , do some NETWORKING with the instructor usually a retired arson investigator ask some questions, have a paper and pen ready and be prepared to write, by the way when you first entered the fire service concentrate in being a good FIREMAN first and whatever else you want to do is always a secondary thing. good luck.
This message was edited by hoseman2 on 4-3-04 @ 9:26 PM

It would also probably be worth checking with differant departments in your area to see how they do things. In some areas it is handled by the suppression side of the fire department (a collateral duty) others run investigation through the fire departments prevention branch and some are large enough to have their own investigation branch. I also have worked places that had the police department do the investigations. There are also a number of associations for fire investigators, most counties have one, in rural areas it is not uncommon for several departments to pool their resources and several departments will use a handful of investgators from differant departments.

Don't overlook the ATF or other federal law enforcement if you are more interested in fire investigation than firefighting.

The information hoseman listed would be good places to start, I wouldn't have thought of those but I think many would be surprised how many fire related jobs are out there in private industry. In addition any law enforcement training will be helpful down the road, since there is at least as much if not more in common with police work as there is firefighting.

I currently work in the Bureau and am working on gaining the necessary education and experience to become an Investigator. What I can tell you if you are working towards this as a career, get your education completed, which would include the SFM tracks located on the CDF page. It is diffucult to just get hired on as an inspector without any experience and having a good educational base will help get you on in the bureau.