It is the responsibility of the Quincy Fire Department to determine the cause and origin of any fire in which there is an injury or damage to property. If the cause is obvious and losses are limited, this responsibility is undertaken by the fire officers who respond to the call. In cases where fire loss is significant, injury or death has occurred or the cause is not readily apparent, trained fire investigators are called in to determine cause and origin. This is done at any fire that fits the above description, whether the fire is considered suspicious or not.
The Arson Investigation Division was formed in the early 1980’s in an effort to reduce both the number of “fires by undetermined causes” as well as the then rising number of arson fires within our community. In accidental fires, quick determination speeds the insurance claims process for those suffering a loss. In arson cases, the methodical investigation processes used by the team lead to arrests and convictions. Arson is a crime committed for varied reasons and is often challenging to prove and prosecute. For this reason the City of Quincy approached the formation of the team with a rather unique solution. The team is jointly manned by firefighters, who bring expertise in the science of determining how and where a fire starts, and police detectives, who then take the evidence and build a case against the fire starter. Nationwide, arson costs millions of dollars annually with you, the taxpayer, footing the bill by paying increased insurance premiums. It is the job of the fire investigators to help eliminate fraud.