Nashville Fire Department Investigators Worked more than 200 Fires in 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Fire Department Fire Investigators were able to solve more than 20 incendiary fires in 2020 for a 24 percent closure rate. That is 2.5 times higher than the national average as tracked by the FBI Uniformed Crime Statistics Report.

The Nashville Fire Department’s Fire & Arson Investigation Division operates within the NFD Fire Marshal’s Office.

Investigators conduct investigations to determine the origins of fires, to determine the causes of fires and to apprehend those responsible when a crime has occurred.

NFD Fire Investigators responds to fire scenes when there are incendiary fires, multiple alarm fires, fire deaths, bombings and criminal or terrorist activity associated with fires.

In 2020, Fire Investigators responded to 234 fires that required investigation.  Investigators deemed 88 fires (38%) as arson. Investigators closed 21 of those cases by arrest for a 24 percent closure rate. The NFD’s Fire & Arson Investigation Division’s closure rate is around 2.5 greater than the national average tracked by the FBI Uniformed Crime Statistics Report.

Investigators also investigated 17 fire fatalities. Eight of those fire fatalities were in motor vehicle accidents and 9 others were in other locations.

NFD investigators also investigated two homicide cases and closed both of those cases by arrest.

In addition to the investigative work fire investigators performed they also issued 87 blasting permits and inspected each location.

A blasting permit is required for the manufacture, storage, handling, sale or use of any quantity of explosives, explosive materials fireworks or pyrotechnic special effects within the scope of Chapter 56 of the 2012 IFC.

“The work of our fire investigators is critical in holding people who set incendiary fires accountable for those criminal acts,” Director Chief William Swann said. “Fire investigators also perform an essential duty to help our neighbors who have suffered a loss because of a fire. The investigators work helps to complete requirements needed so insurance companies can begin the process of helping their policy holders recover.”

In many cases, investigators work with federal, state, and local agencies to solve arson cases. such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD).

The crime of arson is one of the costliest human-made disasters. Arson indirectly contributes to increased insurance premiums, higher medical costs, lost jobs, lost income, and the increased costs of fire services. We need your help to combat this serious crime.

If you have information about an arson you can call the NFD Arson Hotline at 615-862-5640.

You can also contact the Tennessee Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017. Callers can remain anonymous and receive up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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