Fire Investigations are the responsibility of the Seabrook Fire Marshal’s Office for investigating fires within the City of Seabrook. Fire investigators are certified Texas peace officers through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Along with holding a Peace Officer Commission, investigators have to be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) as Arson Investigators. Investigators must attend regular training in order to maintain certification and be up to date on the most advanced methods of fire investigation.
The Seabrook Fire Marshal’s Office maintains a close working relationship with other fire and arson investigation agencies.
The Seabrook Fire Marshal’s Office treats every fire scene as a possible crime scene in order to properly preserve any evidence of what may have been the cause. A fire scene is investigated from the area of least damage working backward towards the area of the most severe damage. In some cases, the cause of the fire may be accidental due to faulty electrical wiring, overloaded electrical systems, candles, smoking materials such as cigarettes, faulty motors, cooking fires, or any other type of accidental fires. Some fires are natural, caused by the decomposition of materials (a compost pile), lightning, or spontaneous combustion of chemicals.
In other cases, the fire may be incendiary (arson), meaning that the fire was intentionally started. Some common motives for setting intentional fires are for-profit (insurance fraud), revenge, and concealment of another crime (such as a home invasion, drug house, homicide, vehicle used in a robbery), vandalism, excitement, and extremism (extremist groups setting fires in order to further their cause). When a fire is determined to be arson, the Seabrook Fire Marshal’s Office conducts a full criminal investigation aggressively pursuing those individuals responsible and execute arrest warrants, search warrants, and refer cases for prosecution with the Harris County criminal district attorney.