Browndale Fire Company  
Fire Station 43  
Standard Operating Guideline   

Date of Issue: 1-1-98  
Effective Date: 1-31-98  

Developed By: Earl Obelenus  
Issued by Authority of: Earl Obelenus, Fire Chief  

FIREFIGHTER/FIRE OFFICER’S RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ARSON DETECTION  
S.O.G. 600-97-1  
   
I. PURPOSE  

To establish responsibilities for the detection of arson.  

II. SCOPE  

Fireground officers are responsible to see that evidence is preserved at the scene of any incident.  Firefighters under the direction of fire officers must perform their duties but, must be aware of the importance n the detection of arson at an incident.  

III. RESPONIBILTY  

All  fireground officers and firefighters.  

IV. BACKROUND  

Arson is one of America’s fastest growing crimes. He vast destruction of property, termination of life and the endless suffering are all part of the arson problem. To curtail this crime, the arson investigator requires all pertinent information from the receipt of the alarm to the extinguishment of the fire. This guideline will assist in providing information which may lead to the conviction of an arsonist.  

V. PROCEDURES  

1. As a firefighter/fire officer en-route to an alarm all senses should be sharpened on approaching a fire scene, making a mental note of the weather conditions, persons or vehicles in the area, color of smoke, as well as the amount of smoke and general location of the fire upon arrival.  

2. Once in operation on the fireground, the firefighter/fire officer should note the spread of the fire, if here are multiple fire locations and positions of doors and windows, noting which required forcible entry and which were opened.  
3. The firefighter/fire officer should be aware of the strong odor such as hydrocarbons or polar solvents which would not ordinarily be present.  

4. The firefighter/fire officer should note any suspicious persons, who may be familiar at multiple fire scenes, persons overly willing to assist or willing to offer information about the incident. The firefighter/fire officer should immediately report this information to the IC .  

5. If the fire is of suspicious origin, the fire officer shall provide security to the structure and/or vehicle and notify the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall and the Browndale Fire Company Fire Marshall for further investigation. This will include all fires in which there are any serious injuries, fatalities or large dollar values.  

6. Overhaul operations, only essential to prevent additional fire spread will be performed. DO NOT DISTURB the potential crime scene.  

7. Upon return to the station, written documentation of the events that transpired will be initiated and completed for future reference. The reports will be compiled by the BFC Fire Marshall and kept on record until needed or deemed unnecessary by the investigating department.  

8. NO information as to the suspected cause of the fire or other information relative to the incident will be released by department personnel except information that is requested by the IC or PSP Fire Marshall. Any release of information to the media will be by the IC or his representative.  

VI. SUPERSEDED GUIDELINE 

This is a new guideline on this subject matter. It does not supersede any previous memo or guideline.  

Reviewed: 7-01-07  

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