Preventing fires is an essential duty of the Keene Fire Department. Fire prevention can save lives and prevent harmful tragedies from happening. It is an area of the fire service that deals with the most important non-firefighting activity. The Fire Marshal is over the fire prevention program and is charged with educating citizens of all ages to recognize potential hazards and take appropriate corrective actions. Fire prevention activities also involve inspections, investigations, and complaint checks. Through these processes, our overall goal is to keep our citizens safe from fire and minimize the risk of property damage and loss. A well planned and executed fire prevention and inspection program is a less expensive and more effective way to accomplish that goal.
In addition to fire prevention, the Fire Marshal is also responsible to investigate the origin, cause, and circumstance of every fire occurring within the City by which property has been damaged or destroyed. The Fire Marshal will make an investigation as to whether such fire was the result of carelessness, accidental, design, or intentional.
Determination of the origin of a fire involves the coordination of information derived from the following:
- Physical marks or patterns left by the fire.
- Observations reported by witnesses.
- The analysis of the physics and chemistry of fire initiation and development and growth as an instrument to related known or hypothesized fire conditions capable of producing those conditions.
- Determination of the cause of a fire involves consideration of the circumstances, conditions or agencies that bring together a fuel, ignition source, or oxidizer.
Setting fires intentionally is a serious crime. The 2004 Edition of the Texas Penal Code Section 28.02 defines the crime of arson as:
- A person commits an offense if the person starts a fire, regardless of whether the fire continues after ignition, or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage:
- any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land; or
- any building, habitation, or vehicle
An offense under this section can range from a felony of the second or first degree, depending on specific circumstances listed within Section 28.02 of the Texas Penal Code.