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Fire Investigators

History

Arson—that is, fires that are deliberately set to cause property damage so owners may collect insurance money, to cover up a crime, as a malicious act, or for other reasons—is a leading cause of fire-related injuries, deaths, and property damage in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “during 2007-2011, an estimated 282,600 intentional fires were reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 420 civilian deaths, 1,360 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage.” Determining whether a fire was caused by an arsonist can help put criminals behind bars. However, catching an arsonist is very complicated. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, only 15 percent of all arson cases are closed by an arrest.