Oak Harbor Fire has five certified fire investigators. We investigate each fire to find the origin, cause, and other factors that may have contributed to the ignition and growth of a fire.
Each fire is examined to determine if the fire was intentional or accidental. The investigation provides a basis of fact for a possible after-fire legal process and may help prevent a similar fire from happening again. Information gathered is reporting to national fire prevention databases and can help in future fire prevention education. The fire investigator is also tasked with determining the monetary value of the damage or property loss.
Investigators observe and document the scene with photographs and/or video, collect evidence and talk with witnesses and firefighters on scene. He is also responsible for securing the scene until the investigation is complete and determining when the property can be returned to the property owner and if the property can be occupied (if a fire occurred in a residence).
Oak Harbor Fire Department operates a Crime Scene and Fire Investigation Trailer with Oak Harbor Police Department. This special operations trailer assists both agencies in their investigation processes by providing a convenient, on-site lab equipped with equipment necessary to the investigation.
As a member of the Region 3 Fire Investigation Task Force, we assist agencies in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom counties when requested. Our investigators focus on City of Oak Harbor fires involving injury or death, a high dollar loss, cluster fires, and any fire where the cause is not immediately apparent.