15.010 - Arson Investigations

Effective Date: 05/01/22

15.010-POL

The Arson/Bomb Squad (ABS), in coordination with Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit (Fire Marshal 5), conducts on-scene and follow-up investigations on some fire calls.

- Fire Marshal 5 investigates suspicious fires to determine the cause and origin of each fire.

1. Supervisors Screen Fire Calls for Possible ABS Response

Supervisors screen fire calls with ABS when the calls involve:

- An arson as determined by Fire Marshal 5

- For arsons as determined by Fire Marshal 5, the on-scene supervisor will contact the on-call ABS supervisor.

- If the Fire Marshal declines to respond, the reporting sworn employee will note that in the report.

- A death or life-threatening injury

- Significant property damage caused by criminal activity

- Fire bombings related to civil disturbances

- A suspect in custody for arson

Small fires that do not meet the above criteria generally do not require an ABS response.

- On-scene supervisors may contact the on-call ABS supervisor via email for questions about small fires.

- Communications will provide the on-scene supervisor with the name of the on-call ABS supervisor for this purpose.

Supervisors do not need to call ABS for suspects charged with misdemeanor reckless burning or property damage.

- The on-scene supervisor will contact the on-call ABS supervisor for any in custody felony arson or felony reckless burning cases prior to booking.

2. Sworn Employees Complete Reports for Fire Calls

Sworn employees write a report for all the following fire calls, unless advised otherwise by an ABS supervisor:

- Arson, reckless burning, and property damage caused by fire

- Fires involving suspicious circumstances, including fires that appear to be started with a malicious intent

- A death or life-threatening injury

- Significant property damage