A fire investigation involves:
- determining the cause of the fire;
- examining the factors affecting the start and spread of the fire;
- examining the damage caused by the fire and the factors affecting the extent of the damage;
- examining the progress of the rescue operations.
The extent of the investigation is primarily determined by the seriousness of the consequences of the fire.
Fire investigations by rescue departments are part of the system of accident investigations in Finland. In addition to rescue departments, the authorities carrying out fire investigations comprise the police, the Safety Investigation Authority and the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). Insurance companies and Divisions of Occupational Safety and Health of Regional State Administrative Agencies may also be involved in investigations.
Fire investigations carried out by the rescue authorities differ from fire cause investigations and pre-trial investigations conducted by the police in terms of their focus. Investigations carried out by the rescue authorities do not entail examining responsibility or guilt. The rescue authorities are obliged to report the matter to the police if there are reasons to suspect a criminal offence.
The Safety Investigation Authority is tasked with investigating all major accidents and related incidents regardless of their nature as well as all aviation, maritime and rail accidents and incidents.
The Safety Investigation Authority:
- ensures the general organisation, planning, guidance, provision of information and supervision of safety investigations;
- trains persons suitable to be investigators;
- maintains the readiness to quickly initiate an investigation;
- attends to international cooperation connected with the safety investigation field;
- issues safety recommendations and monitors their implementation.