MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Investigators of the state fire supervision authorities of the federal fire service of the EMERCOM of Russia celebrate the 94th anniversary of its formation.
The authority to “conduct investigations into cases of violation of established fire regulations” was assigned to fire officials back in 1928 by a joint circular of the NKVD of the RSFSR and the People’s Commissariat of Justice of the RSFSR dated January 23, 1927 No. violation of fire regulations.
Currently, about 2.7 thousand fire investigators carry out their activities in the structure of the departments of supervisory activities of the territorial bodies of the EMERCOM of Russia.
Investigators are engaged in checking incoming messages about fires for the presence in the events that have occurred of signs of administrative offenses and criminal acts, as well as investigating criminal cases on crimes under investigation by the bodies of inquiry of the state fire supervision of the federal fire service.
In total, the EMERCOM of Russia receives more than 900,000 reports of fires a year. Each such message is reviewed and checked. In legal language, “it is recorded and procedurally formalized” by interrogators.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia is constantly working to strengthen the legislative and material and technical base of fire investigators. So in 2021, the Federal Law “On Fire Safety” was supplemented with provisions that eliminate previously existing legal conflicts in the activities of investigators. Now, the basic law for ensuring the fire safety of the country enshrined the rights of investigators to check identity documents, receive explanations, information and information from citizens, freely visit organizations in order to familiarize themselves with the materials necessary for the operational investigation of fires.
Such legislative changes were necessary to protect the rights and interests of citizens from unlawful encroachments and prompt documentation of the circumstances of fires, as well as to prevent the loss of material evidence.
Of course, fire investigation is one of the most difficult areas in the investigation of incidents and crimes. Fire destroys all traces, destroys the original situation at the time of the fire and possible evidence.
It should be noted that most often fires are caused by faulty electrical wiring and electrical appliances, as well as careless human actions when handling fire and various sources of increased danger. Of course, there are cases – about one in a hundred – when it is almost impossible to determine the cause of the fire.
And yet the task of the investigator is to establish the cause of the fire and legally correctly qualify the actions of persons, identifying the perpetrators. Quite often, the interrogating officer must manually rake coals and firebrands, inspect burnt household appliances, and analyze the degree of deformation of materials subjected to thermal effects. What, in the eyes of an amateur, is just ashes and a pile of burnt ruins, for an experienced interrogator is a professional puzzle with a tangle of questions and contradictions.
To do this, in their activities, investigators use portable fire-forensic laboratories at the scene of a fire, designed to draw up a protocol for examining the scene of an incident related to a fire. Today, all inquiry agencies of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia are equipped with such laboratories. If necessary, for example, in large fires, experts from forensic institutions – fire testing laboratories, who have at their disposal expert equipment that meets the latest technology, come to the aid of investigators.
But it’s too early to stop there. The plans of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia to continue to develop the fire investigation service, equip it legislatively, increase the number of investigators, introduce new modern methods of work related to the digitalization of their activities in the unified state automated system of legal statistics, expand powers in the field of identifying the causes and conditions that contributed to the commission of offenses leading to fires . Together with this, there are issues of updating the official vehicles used by interrogators, adopting even more advanced portable fire and forensic laboratories. All this will be implemented in the coming years.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.