Fire investigators for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office are currently assigned to the Emergency Services Division under the direction of Fire Marshal John Padgett. With the passage of the public safety tax in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office was able to add a second full-time position, bringing the number full-time investigators to two. Our investigators have a variety of experience and backgrounds including law enforcement, hazardous materials, and firefighting.
Fire investigators work a full-time schedule and also maintain an on-call schedule, which makes an investigator available to respond to fires 24 hours a day. Our fire investigators support 22 fire districts in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County and are available for mutual aid requests from municipalities in the County, as well as our surrounding counties. Our fire investigators maintain national certifications from the National Association Fire Investigators and the International Association of Arson Investigators. They attend continuing education each year to maintain certifications, as well as to obtain information on advances in trends in the field of fire investigations. Our fire investigators maintain close working relationships with other fire investigators United States Forest Service, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, ATF, and the local municipalities located within the County. These quality relationships have enhanced our ability to share information and call on additional resources during the recent large fires that occurred in the area.
Our fire investigators respond to fire scenes to conduct interviews, process the scenes and collect evidence in an effort to determine the origin and cause the fire. If the cause of fire is determined to be incendiary investigators are able to identify suspects and develop the case with the ultimate goal of successful prosecution. In the event of a non-criminal fire, investigators are able to identify the cause or responsible party.