Investigations Division Overview
The Fire/Arson & Explosives Investigations Division works to keep the citizens of Hays County safe by investigating the origin and cause of fires and explosions, enforcing laws relating to fire and explosives, and by defeating threats against Hays County’s infrastructure and emergency responders. The Division serves as the criminal law enforcement arm of the Hays County Fire Marshal’s Office (HCFMO) and the Office of Emergency Services. The Investigations Division provides the HCFMO with 24-hour investigative response capability 365 days a year through a rotating on-call schedule.
The Investigations Division is currently comprised of the County Fire Marshal, the Investigations Division Chief and Deputy Fire Marshals.
The Investigations Division is a highly-trained unit comprised of law enforcement officers and other deputy fire marshals with rigorous certification requirements. All investigators are sworn and Deputy Fire Marshals and our law enforcement personnel have full arrest, search, and seizure authority. Division personnel are investigators who specialize in fire, arson and explosives investigation. They are all required to be certified fire investigators by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Fire Marshal Investigators also receive extensive training in bomb and post-blast investigations. All Fire Marshal Investigators have at least a basic understanding of firefighting and rescue tactics and most are experienced firefighters. Several investigators are also certified and licensed as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) as well. All arson investigators are required to undergo frequent firearms and tactics training. The Investigations Division maintains a variety of specialized operational capabilities including a fully equipped regional response vehicle, electronic forensic measures, and both urban and rural surveillance capabilities.
The Investigations Division also responds at the request of municipal jurisdictions in Hays County in order to assist with investigations of fire and explosion incidents.
If a fire or explosion is determined to be accidental, Fire Marshal Investigators identify what hazardous conditions or practices existed, if any, which may have contributed to the ignition and spread of the fire. This aids public fire education efforts and helps prevent similar fires from occurring in the future.
If a fire or explosion is determined to have been intentionally set or if other criminal conduct is discovered during the course of an investigation, Fire Marshal Investigators will continue to investigate the case until a suspect is identified, located, and apprehended.
Investigators file criminal cases with the Hays County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and continue to work with a prosecuting attorney towards a successful resolution. If a Federal arson or explosives statute is violated then Fire Marshal Investigators will work with Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in order to file the case with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas. We also work in coordination with the State Fire Marshal’s Office of Texas on various incidents.
In addition, Fire Marshal Investigators conduct numerous training and education classes for fire and law enforcement personnel on a wide variety of topics.
To Report a Suspicious Fire:
- Call the Hays County Fire Marshal at 512-393-7300, option 2;
- Call Crime Stoppers at 800-324-TIPS (8477)
- Texas Arson Hotline at 877-4FIRE45 (877-434-7345)
Remember, you may remain anonymous!