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Investigation of fires

This page explains the coroner's role in the investigation of fires in Victoria.

Initiating an investigation

The coroner has the power to investigate any fire that has occurred in Victoria. Fire investigations can be initiated by the coroner or they can follow a request from the Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade or Emergency Services Board. The coroner must investigate any fire that has been requested by any of these authorities unless they believe that an investigation is not in the public interest.

An individual may ask for a fire to be investigated

If an individual has requested an investigation, the coroner is not obliged to investigate, but they must respond to the request in writing.

What the coroner will investigate

The powers of investigation into a fire are similar to the powers that can be exercised in the event of a death.

The coroner must investigate and try to find out the:

  • cause and origin of the fire
  • circumstances in which the fire occurred
  • identity of any person who contributed to the cause of the fire.

Records and reports about the fire

A record of the investigation must be kept. The coroner may report to the Attorney General on any fire that they have investigated. This report may include any recommendations for any minister or public authority about any matter connected with the fire that has been investigated by the coroner.

If they believe that an indictable offence has been committed, the coroner must also report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

More information

Legislation

Coroners Act 2008 (Vic)

  • Part 4 division 2—investigation of fires
  • s. 30—request for investigation by the fire authority

See Coroners Act 2008 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated