Fire Investigations

firefighters investigating a scene after a fire

The Fire Investigation unit is charged with determining the origin and cause of all unknown cause and/or suspicious fires and explosions occurring within the jurisdiction of the City of Lenexa Fire Department.

The data collected during a fire investigation provides valuable statistics on fire trends within the City of Lenexa. The information is essential in developing programs to reduce fire risk in the future. In some cases, the fire investigation discloses criminal activities, and is a significant component in solving crimes like arson.

The City of Lenexa Fire Department is legally required to conduct a fire investigation on every fire. Fire department investigators will assist the operations division with fire origin and cause determinations, when requested. The Fire Prevention Division will provide oversight of fire investigations on incidents involving injuries or fatalities, high dollar loss, high profile (house of worship, government facility), and any illegal activity that has a nexus to fire.

During the course of an investigation, witnesses and victims are interviewed, evidence may be collected and processed, and the scene will be photographed and documented. This is a process filled with scientific, professional, and personal challenges unmatched in other fields of forensic science.

Some of the data collected during the course of the investigation includes:

  • Fire ignition

  • Fuel sources

  • Fire growth and development

  • Building construction and engineering

  • Interior finishes and furnishings

  • Fire detection and suppression systems

  • Smoke movement and control

  • Human reaction (response) and evacuation

  • Fire-fighting and rescue tactics 

  • Extent of life loss, injury, and property damage resulting from fire propagation and human behavior

  • Evidence necessary for civil and criminal litigation

  • Anecdotal evidence that will help improve code enforcement programs, public education programs, design practices, and provide support for necessary code modifications 

Over the years, collected data helps the Fire Prevention Division’s office determine the focus of public education programs and code enforcement on life safety inspections. Data focused programs aid in reducing the quantity and severity of fires that impact our particular community.

The Lenexa Fire Department is also part of the Eastern Kansas Multi County Task Force (EKMCTF) and aids in the investigation of fires in other participating jurisdictions. The Lenexa Fire Department currently has three fire investigators certified through the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI).


The City of Lenexa Governing body adopted the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) which in Section 104.10 Fire Investigations authorizes the Lenexa Fire Department to conduct the fire investigations.

104.10 Fire investigations. The fire code official, the fire department or other responsible authority shall have the authority to investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire, explosion or other hazardous condition. Information that could be related to trade secrets or processes shall not be made part of the public record, except as directed by a court of law.

104.10.1 Assistance from other agencies. Police and other enforcement agencies shall have authority to render necessary assistance in the investigation of fires when requested to do so.

Also Pursuit to Kansas State statue (K.S.A. 31.137) through the State of Kansas Fire Marshal’s office the Lenexa Fire Department is authorized to conduct fire investigations.

31-137. Same; enforcement of act and regulations; investigations; entry and examination of buildings and premises; report, filing. The state fire marshal, deputies of the fire marshal, the chief of any organized fire department of any municipality, whether such fire department is regular or volunteer, or any member of any such fire department who has been duly authorized by the chief thereof, shall enforce the provisions of this act and any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. Such persons are authorized to make any investigations deemed necessary of any fire or explosion occurring within this state. Such persons shall make an investigation of any fire or explosion occurring within this state, or an attempt to cause any fire or explosion within this state, if there is reason to believe that the fire was of an incendiary origin or was an attempt to defraud an insurance company. In addition, the chief of any organized fire department of any municipality may designate other qualified persons to conduct such investigations in such municipality. In order to carry out such investigations, the state fire marshal and those persons designated by or authorized to be designated by this section shall have the right and authority at all times of day or night to enter upon or examine, in accordance with existing laws and regulations, any building or premises where any fire or explosion or attempt to cause a fire or explosion has occurred. Such persons shall make a written report of the findings of any investigation conducted pursuant to this section which shall be filed in the office of the state fire marshal.

Investigation Reports

Insurance companies use fire investigation reports to settle or deny claims. If you would like to obtain a copy of a report for a closed investigation, please call the Lenexa Fire Department at 913.888.6380.

The total cost will be determined by the length of the report and the information requested. You will receive an estimated cost prior to receiving records. Payments must be made prior to the release of the fire investigation report.