Capt. Darrell Stephens recently completed training through the State Fire Marshal’s office as a fire investigator. He began the training, which required taking multiple classes during two-week stays in Forsyth, in the summer of 2007.
“I can do the investigations for the fire department now as a fireman/detective,” Stephens explained. “I can verify a fire as suspicious, investigate the cause and work with the police department to make an arrest.”
The training also allows him to trace the point of origin of fires and possibly determine the cause of the fire, whether arson or accident.
One of the most devastating things a family can experience is the loss of their personal belongings in a fire, Fire Chief Sammy Stephens notes.
“However hard this can be, not having closure as to the cause of a disaster can haunt a person long after family and friends have returned to their normal lives,” Sammy Stephens said.
“Shifting through the ashes after the fire has been extinguished in order to find the cause can be a daunting task to say the least.”
Clues to the origin of a fire are often hidden beneath layers of debris. The science of uncovering such clues has greatly increased with modern technology. Education is the key to better understanding how to find these missing pieces, Sammy Stephens said.
As a fire investigator, Darrell Stephens has the training needed to find the point in a room where a fire originated.
He can then trace the fire pattern back and come up with a likely scenario about how the fire occurred.
While most fires are accidental, there are some that are intentionally set. The Cedartown Fire Department is now actively investigating three fires that occurred in the City of Cedartown as possible arson.
The most recent of these occurred in the early morning hours on Monday, April 6 in the Goodyear Village neighborhood of Cedartown. Around 12:02 a.m. on April 6, the fire department responded to a vacant lot to put out some old mattresses that appeared to have been deliberately set on fire.
At 2:07 a.m., the fire department responded again to the same area, but this time to a vacant rental house at 700 LaDue St., Sammy Stephens said.
“This was a structure fire that was fully involved,” he said. “The house was empty but the power was still one. We are investigating this one as a suspicious fire.”