A quick way to reach the Investigation division, is by sending an email to osfminv@ks.gov
Arson Hotline

Investigation

The Fire Investigation Division is charged with determining the origin and cause of fires throughout the State.  Fire investigators also serve as instructors for local fire departments and law enforcement agencies, collect evidence at fire scenes, collaborate with other state and federal agencies, conduct criminal investigations and provide public education.

Most Kansas fire departments and law enforcement agencies do not have a certified fire investigator on staff, and they will request our assistance when they suspect a fire had an incendiary cause, when fatality or serious injury occurs, and when property damage is severe.

When a determination is made that a fire was caused by arson, a careful and complete investigation will follow. In cooperation with local law enforcement officials and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, our investigators will completely evaluate the fire scene for evidence and conduct interviews.

Arson is a complex crime, sometimes committed as part of an insurance fraud; sometimes committed to conceal other crimes such as burglary, embezzlement or even homicide.

Fire Investigators with the OSFM are sworn law enforcement officers and carry out all aspects of criminal investigations, including the arrest and conviction of arsonists. The Investigation Division conducts polygraph examinations in relation to these criminal investigations.

The Investigation Division maintains investigative files and databases for investigations and both explosive and fireworks licensing. The division utilizes the NCIC system for background checks on all explosive and fireworks licensing applications. The Investigation Division works and cooperates with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in reference to investigations, data sharing, and licensing.

Fire Investigations

The Investigation Division provides experienced fire investigators to assist local fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires and explosions. This assistance is provided when a request is made by the local jurisdiction. Our fire investigators conduct criminal investigations when the incident is determined to be criminal in nature, such as arson.

This team also certifies fire investigators for local fire departments. This certification allows investigators to have law enforcement authority when conducting fire investigations. There are currently two certification levels: CFI I and CFI II.

Explosives and Fireworks

The Investigation Division deals with explosive and fireworks permits for the State of Kansas. Fire investigators are assigned to conducting storage site inspections and complaint-driven civil and criminal investigations. The investigators respond to pre- and post-blast incidents. Explosive safety, awareness, and investigative classes are conducted for both the public safety community and the private explosive industry.

Investigation News

Be Safe, Not Sorry with Fireworks

Kevin Doel | Jun 15, 2016

Kansans are feeling the heat of summer, and along with it many of us will also experience the heat of fireworks celebrations as we enjoy Fourth of July festivities with our friends and families. While fireworks are used as part of the holiday celebration, it is important to remember that fireworks can be dangerous if not handled properly.  

Fireworks-related injuries dropped from 161 in 2014 to 137 reported injuries in 2015. While instances of traumatic amputation dropped from ten to two, more injuries required burn center treatment or surgery than in 2014. Injuries to hands were involved in 70% of cases in which the injured party was lighting or operating fireworks, while injuries to the head or eyes occurred in nearly 60% of cases involving bystanders.  

“While shooting your own fireworks can be a thrill, they can also cause serious injuries and fires if not handled properly,” says Doug Jorgensen, Fire Marshal for the State of Kansas. “The safest approach to enjoying fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays conducted by trained professionals who know how to properly handle fireworks. We want all our Kansas kids to enjoy this Summer’s fun and festivities as safely as possible.”

To help the public celebrate safely, the Office of the State Fire Marshal offers the following tips for the safe use of fireworks:

- Always purchase high quality fireworks from reliable and legitimate sources

- Always read and follow label directions

- Have an adult supervise all fireworks activities

- Always ignite fireworks outdoors

- Have water nearby

- Never experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks

- Light only one firework at a time

- Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks

- Never give fireworks to small children

- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place

- Dispose of fireworks properly

- Never throw fireworks at another person

- Never carry fireworks in your pocket

- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers

In addition, bottle rockets and M80s are dangerous and illegal in the state of Kansas. The use or sale of these banned fireworks is considered a crime under Kansas law.