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The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) is mandated under the Fires Prevention and Emergency Response Act (FPER) to provide investigation services for the determination of origin and cause of all fires within Manitoba. Local Fire Chiefs are provided the Authority under The Act (FPER) as local Assistants to determine the origin and cause of Fires within their jurisdiction, but in a number of instances rely on the expertise of Fire Investigators within the OFC to either assist them or investigate the origin and cause of the fire.
Presently the OFC has nine (9) full time fire investigators, along with a Manager of Investigations assigned to conduct origin and cause when requested and assigned. The investigators are based in Brandon (3) and Winnipeg (6). Three of these members are assigned full time to the Winnipeg Arson Strike Force.
Other staff members trained as Fire Investigators may be assigned as required to conduct and/or assist with Fire Investigations.
Based on the Winnipeg Arson Strike Force Model, similar models have been set up in Brandon and Thompson. In circumstances that dictate problem areas, Investigators are assigned to assist the local Police and Fire Agencies.
Information gathered as a result of fire investigations are complied by the Statistical Section and the information is used to design Fire and Life Safety Programs targeted for specific groups. These include the Youth Fire Stop Program, home and business safety programs as well as the recall of unsafe devices that have been found to cause fires.
Fire Investigators have also been trained and are utilized to assist the local Police Agencies when required to conduct Life Safety Inspections involving “Grow-op” and Clandestine Lab search warrants.
Staff members are also trained or are in the process of being trained to conduct Wildland Fire Investigations in areas under municipal control.