Normal Fire Department has five members who are tasked with determining cause and origin of a fire. They work in conjunction with various local, state and federal investigation and law enforcement agencies to determine what started a fire, where it started, and to prosecute arsonists if it is determined that a fire was intentionally set.
Members of the team are certified as investigators by the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, and have extensive training in fire cause and origin determination. They have to maintain a high level of continuing education to remain certified and a part of the team.
A fire investigator looks at the fire remains, and obtains information to reconstruct the sequence of events leading up to the fire. Fire investigators sometimes work with forensic engineers, such as forensic electrical engineers when examining electrical appliances, household wiring, etc.
Fire investigation is a combination of burn patterns analysis, fire debris analysis, scene recreation, interviewing and evidence collection. These clues help investigators determine the origin and cause of a fire.