Arson BureAu

The Arson Bureau is responsible for investigating the cause of fires and explosions within the city limits of San Antonio. It also investigate fire-related deaths, life threatening burn injuries, suspected explosive devices, and bomb threats.

Fire investigations often divide into two separate parts:

  1. Determining the cause of the fire.
  2. If the cause is arson, conducting a criminal investigation to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.


Arson Bureau Investigators are highly trained in fire origin and cause, investigative techniques, criminal law, and crime scene processing. Several Investigators are certified polygraph examiners, which add an important capability for criminal investigations. All Investigators are certified Peace Officers with arrest powers. They are responsible for filing cases with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office involving related crimes such as Criminal Mischief, Possession of Explosive Devices, Hoax Bombs, Insurance Fraud, and Homicide.

Training for Arson Bureau personnel begins at the San Antonio Police Academy where prospective Arson Investigators take on the same mental and physical challenges faced by all SAPD cadets. After the SAPD Academy, Investigators receive training for state certification as an Arson Investigator. Investigators also participate in continuing education and in-service training each year.

Arson Prevention Tips

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, since the year 2000, arson-related fires have caused over $800 million dollars in property loss on average each year. Arson can have devastating financial and emotional affects on a business. Learn more about how to prevent arson from happening to your business.


A person commits an offense if he starts a fire or causes an explosion with intent to destroy or damage: any vegetation, fence, or structure on open-space land; or any building, habitation, or vehicle: knowing that it is within the city limits of an incorporated city or town; knowing that it is insured against damage or destruction; knowing that it is subject to a mortgage or other security interest; knowing that it is located on property belonging to another; knowing that it has located within it property belonging to another; or when he is reckless about whether the burning or explosion will endanger the life of some individual or the safety of the property of another.


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