MSP Fire Investigators Step in When Local Fire Departments Need Support

When large house fires occur, sometimes Michigan State Police fire investigators are called to help find out what happened.

Using tools available to them and working closely with local law enforcement, most of the time they’re able to determine the cause.

“Those of us in the state police that are fire investigators, we’re internationally trained and we have a lot of certifications that go into being a fire investigator, not only at an international level, but within the state police as well,” said Sgt. Dan Drew, fire investigator with MSP.House Fire Police Tape

While many fire departments in lower Michigan usually have the tools they need to figure out what happened following a house fire or explosion, many in northern Michigan don’t have that luxury.

When they need help, that’s when Michigan State Police fire investigators step in.

“So up here in northern Michigan, where there’s a lot of smaller rural fire departments, we kind of fill that gap in if those fire departments don’t have a fire investigator,” said Sgt. Drew. “Downstate in the larger cities like Detroit, grand rapids, and even traverse city, they have some very competent fire investigators on staff at the fire departments.”

A recent house explosion in Harbor Springs shook the community and investigators have determined they don’t suspect it was intentional.

But some pieces are still being put together.

“There’s a lot of things that go into the residential explosions such as propane and natural gas and typically when those are accidental causes we kind of go hands off,” Sgt. Drew said.

Once they determine the cause of a fire or explosion isn’t criminal, they usually let insurance companies take it from there.