Area fire investigators learn how to get to the truth beneath the ashes

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Dozens of area fire investigators are learning how to get to the truth beneath the ashes.

(MGN/file)

In all more than 70 fire investigators from Texas to Colorado are getting in-depth training at the Temple Fire Training station on how to identify the cause of fires.

“If there is a product that is dangerous we want to know about it or if there is an action or a condition people should avoid to keep from a fire occurring that’s what we are here to do,” Harker Heights Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Ray said.

“We are doing some things live in front of people showing them , how the fires start, what starts fires and what doesn’t start fires that way they can learn a little bit more and be better prepared for the fires they are going to be investigating in their communities” Ray said.

Only a few in a department of a hundred firefighters have the training to do this type of investigation.

“We’re rare when it comes to law enforcement there are not many of us” Ray said.

He says it's important to get to the truth by identifying the facts.

“It’s not guess work. We dig into the investigation to find out what’s happening. We are truth seekers, we are not case makers. We are not looking to make a case against somebody we are just looking for the truth,” Ray said.

The “How Things Burn: Forensic Burn to Learn” course specifically focuses on fire forensic investigation techniques.

The training also gives the investigators the opportunity to network and learn from each other.

“It’s also good for us to get with other agencies to see what they are doing in their communities and how they are handling their fire prevention as well as their investigation,” Temple Fire Rescue paramedic and arson investigator Caleb Inman said.

It was also the first time the recently created CenTex Fire and Arson Task Force got the chance to work together.

“It’s a very informal group; it’s made up of fire investigators” Ray said.
Some fire investigators do not have an opportunity to take part in such training because of the cost of the classes and travel expenses, but through the sponsorship by the Central Texas Council of Governments this course was provided at no charge.

A local business also contributed to make the training possible.

“We came together with the fire department and they wanted to put a training event and they didn’t have the funding or the ability to build the structures that they needed,” William Czebely of Belfor Property Restoration said.

“We loved to help the fire department and help the local community put on a training event of this magnitude,” he said.