Fire Investigator

Job Description:

A Fire Investigator examines the causes of fires, determining their origins and reasons, often to assist law enforcement or insurance companies in understanding fire-related incidents.

Job Category:
Government & Public Services

What you will do:

As a fire investigator, you will be:

  • Inspecting fire scenes to identify origins, patterns, and possible causes of fires
  • Gathering and preserving physical evidence, such as debris and samples, for analysis
  • Interviewing witnesses, property owners, and first responders to gather information
  • Analysing fire patterns, burn marks, and heat distribution to reconstruct the fire sequence
  • Documenting findings, observations, and evidence to create comprehensive reports
  • Determining if fires were accidental, intentional (arson), or due to other factors
  • Working with law enforcement, insurance companies, and legal professionals during investigations
  • Providing expert testimony in court cases related to fire incidents
  • Offering recommendations to prevent future fires and enhance fire safety
  • Educating the public on fire safety measures and prevention
  • Using specialised tools and equipment for evidence collection and analysis
  • Staying updated with advancements in fire investigation techniques and technologies


You will need:

  • knowledge of fire science and chemistry
  • knowledge in arson investigation, investigative techniques and forensic techniques
  • knowledge in building construction
  • knowledge of safety protocols and codes and regulations
  • familiarity with specialised tools and equipment used in fire investigations
  • knowledge of legal procedures and documentation

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a fire investigator, a strong educational foundation is important. While specific requirements can vary, the following GCSE subjects are generally beneficial:

  1. Science: Understanding scientific principles can be valuable for analysing fire behavior and evidence.
  2. Mathematics: Developing analytical and quantitative skills essential for data analysis.
  3. English: Enhancing communication skills for documenting findings and writing reports.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with technology used in investigations.
  5. Design and Technology (Optional): Gaining insight into materials and structures relevant to fire behavior.

These subjects provide a solid base, but keep in mind that becoming a fire investigator typically requires higher education, often in fire science, forensic science, or related fields. Universities or colleges might consider your GCSE subjects alongside A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) when evaluating your application. It’s advisable to research specific requirements of institutions you’re interested in and seek guidance from academic advisors to tailor your educational path accordingly.

To become a fire investigator, you need the following qualifications and requirements:


  • Start with a bachelor’s degree in fire science, forensic science, criminal justice, or a related field.
  • Complete formal fire investigation training programs and earn relevant certifications.
  • Gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions in firefighting or emergency response.
  • Stay updated through continuing education and networking with professional organizations.
  • Check and fulfill licensing or certification requirements in your area.
  • Consider law enforcement experience as a foundation.

Certifications (Optional but Beneficial)

Consider certifications like Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) or Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) for added expertise and credibility.

Working Hours and Environment:

Fire investigators have varied hours, alternating between offices for analysis and fieldwork at fire scenes, with potential travel, on-call duties, collaboration with others, and adaptation to the demands of emergency response or hazardous environments.

Career Path & Progression:

The typical fire investigator career path involves progression from entry-level to junior and experienced investigator roles, followed by senior investigator positions, potential specialisation, supervisory roles, consulting or training opportunities, management positions, and optional retirement with consultation, all with a focus on continuous learning and expertise development.