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Central Valley Fire hosts fire investigation training for Arson Awareness Week

Arson Awareness week.jpg
Posted at 4:56 PM, May 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-10 12:04:11-04

As part of Arson Awareness Week, Central Valley Fire hosted multiple agencies from across Montana and the country to learn about fire patterns to help with fire investigations.

“We're really good at making a mess. We're going to be breaking things. We're not very good at preserving evidence and things like that,” said Central Valley Fire Battalion Chief Dylan White.

When White is on call he is one of the members who works to put out the fire. But what this class focuses on is the second part of a fire, which is the investigation.

“It'd be more like a secondhand. We talked a lot in this class about how it's better to have two investigators on the scene instead of one,” said White.

Central Valley had firefighters pinpoint where and how fires started in rooms built to simulate different homes or businesses.

“Some of those rooms have a fire scene in them that our crews will be able to work through and investigate over the course of the week,” said Central Valley Fire, Fire Marshall Jake Zlomie.

They work to investigate to protect property and life, but in some cases even solve crimes like arson.

“The biggest thing that we're doing is that if there is a victim of fire whether it be an individual of property were really trying to figure out what really happened,” said Zlomie.

As the community grows, Central Valley is trying to keep ahead of the with education from fires that have already taken place.

“The best tools that we have is that we can learn from each fire we have that can prepare us for the future,” said Zlomie.

Part of this class is how to better educate the public to prevent fires.

“Having public education messaging, about heat lamps or oily lamps,” said Zlomie.

White says it'll make him think more about the aftermath of the next fire he responds to.

“Not that we're going to change our operations in order to do so but, I think that it makes us cognizant of what happens on the back end if we do make a mess,” said White.

Arson Awareness Week runs May 7-13.