Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S04-03-12
Fire and Arson Incidents
Issue Date:19 September 2014Effective Date:19 September 2014
Rescinds:23 December 2013 Version
Index Category:Preliminary Investigations
  • A.It is the policy of the Chicago Police Department to investigate and accurately report all fire-related incidents and threats.
  • B.Department members will extend whatever assistance is required and cooperate to the fullest extent with members of the Chicago Fire Department at all times.
II.Field Personnel Responsibilities
  • A.Whenever members in the field are assigned to a fire incident, they will:
    • 1.determine if the incident is bona fide and notify OEMC.
    • 2.if necessary, assist in the rescue of endangered persons. Department members will:
      • a.only enter a building if there is an imminent danger to life and it is necessary and prudent to assist.
      • b.notify OEMC of all observations connected with the fire and the intent to enter the building prior to making entry.
      • c.proceed with caution and frequently update OEMC and responding Chicago Fire Department Personnel with their location.
      • d.if necessary, use the stairs to reach reported fire location. Members should:
        • (1)UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES use the elevator.
        • (2)when possible, ascend in teams of two.
        • (3)prior to ascending a staircase, conduct a visual inspection of the stairwell for smoke or flames.
        • (4)advise OEMC of the staircase being used by direction (east, west, etc.) or any other identifying characteristic of the staircase.
        • (5)prior to opening any door where a fire may be located:
          • (a)place the back of the hand on the door that separates the possible fire from the member.
          • (b)conduct a visual inspection through a door or window opening for the presence of smoke or fire.
            An unusually warm door or the presence of smoke or fire are indicators there is a fire beyond the door. This can be an extremely dangerous condition requiring personal protective equipment to enter and is considered "immediately dangerous to life and health." In these cases, members should not open the door or enter the hallway as such action can draw smoke/fire toward the member.
    • 3.notify OEMC if there are any persons present in need of medical treatment.
    • 4.if necessary, establish fire lanes, traffic and crowd control, and a perimeter.
      • a.Do not block egress of responding fire department units.
      • b.Do not block access to fire hydrants
    • 5.determine if the assigned police personnel and equipment are sufficient and, if not, request additional assistance as necessary.
    • 6.keep the dispatcher informed of conditions and request a supervisor, if required.
    • 7.determine if any persons have been displaced because of the fire, and if so,
      • a.notify a supervisor.
      • b.if necessary for the displaced persons, request,
        • (1)a warming bus,
        • (2)the Department of Human Services, or
        • (3)the Red Cross.
    • 8.attempt to ascertain the cause and origin of the incident. If there is a suspicion that the incident is of a criminal nature, the member will request a supervising sergeant and make immediate notification to the Arson Section.
      • a.In these instances, field personnel will secure the scene and remain on the scene until released by Arson Section personnel.
      • b.Officers should not classify a fire as Arson based merely on a CFD classification as Incendiary. An Incendiary fire identifies the fire as caused by a human act. This Incendiary term includes accidental fires. Officers should consult with members of the Arson Section for guidance on the preparation of an arson case report after being informed that CFD has declared a fire to be of an incendiary nature.
III.Office of Emergency Management and Communications Responsibilities
  • A.Upon notification, the OEMC dispatcher will immediately dispatch a patrol unit from the district of occurrence and make any other required notifications.
  • B.If Fire Department equipment is required in a police emergency, the OEMC dispatcher will notify the Fire Department of the situation.
  • C.Rebroadcast pertinent updates on the Fire Department Zone to the Police Department Zone (e.g., numerous calls received, affected floor, persons trapped, injuries, etc.).
  • D.If Department members on scene are in immediate danger from smoke, heat, or fired, notify the Fire Department dispatcher for transmittal to on scene Fire Department members.
IV.Field Supervisor Procedures
  • A.A supervisor will respond to all fire related incidents where
    • 1.a Department member makes entry into a building for the purpose of rescuing endangered individuals.
    • 2.there are displaced persons.
    • 3.there is a suspicion the incident is of a criminal nature.
    • 4.there are injuries.
  • B.If Department members have entered the building, the supervisor will ensure that
    • department personnel are aware of the number and last known location of assisting members.
    • 2.all Department members who enter the building are accounted for.
    • lanes and an adequate perimeter have been established for the efficient movement of emergency vehicles.
  • C.In all cases, supervisors will ensure that:
    • lanes and an adequate perimeter have been established for the efficient movement of emergency vehicles
    • 2.police personnel and equipment are sufficient for on scene needs.
    • 3.displaced persons receive necessary services.
When a Department member responds to the location of a reported fire or explosion and the preliminary investigation discloses that:
  • A.a fire involving real or personal property , whether deliberately set or of a noncriminal nature, the incident will be documented using the Automated Incident Reporting Application (AIRA) following offense classification procedures established in the Incident Reporting Guide (CPD-63.451).
    • 1.If a death or injury has occurred in a fire of a noncriminal nature, the incident will be reported on a Hospitalization Case Report (CPD-11.406) with the extra copy sent to the Arson Section.
    • 2.If there is evidence of arson and another crime, then two case reports will be prepared: one for the arson and one for the other crime. Arson is an exception to the UCR "hierarchy rule" Part I Offense (burglary, auto theft, etc.).
    • 3.If there is evidence of a non-arson fire or explosion, in addition to another crime, the police officer will use the secondary classification under AIRA to ensure that the other crime UCR code and the fire related UCR code are both included in one case report.
  • B.a fire has occurred and does not involve any real property or if the nature of the personal property indicates that it has little or no monetary value, a Miscellaneous Incident Exception Report (CPD-11.419) will be prepared. The report will be forwarded to the Arson Section by the district review officer.
  • fire has occurred and all Fire Department apparatus has left the scene, the police officer will return to service using the appropriate number-letter code from the Miscellaneous Incident Reporting Table (CPD-11.484).
  • D.a fire has NOT occurred, but the incident involves the threat of destruction of property by fire, the making of the threat constitutes an offense, whether or not the threat was carried out. In these instances, a General Offense Case Report will be prepared following offense classification procedures established in the Incident Reporting Guide.
Investigating officers will promptly notify the Arson Section via telephone in the following incidents:
  • A.where there is an indication that an attempt arson occurred or a fire is a result of an explosion or arson.
  • B.a death or injury results from any fire or explosion.
  • C.a suspect related to any of the above incidents is in custody.
  • D.information exists that if followed up immediately could result in the apprehension of an offender.
    Investigating officers will also be responsible for notifying CPIC, via telephone, of an arson incident, including attempt.
VII.Arson Section Responsibilities
The Arson Section will be responsible for:
  • A.the follow-up investigation of all arson threats.
  • B.the follow-up investigation of all fire-related incidents reported on a General Offense Case Report.
  • C.upon notification, providing assistance, and assuming the follow-up investigation for all incidents involving known or suspected incendiary or hazardous materials.
    Detectives assigned to the Arson Section and Chicago Fire Department Hazardous Materials Technicians are responsible to render-safe, dispose of, or preserve all such materials for evidence.
VIII.Fire Units En Route to Fires
All police units operating in the area will be alert to Chicago Fire Department units responding to or returning from an alarm and provide close scrutiny and protection against any attack directed toward them.
IX.Fire Department Quarters Left Vacant
  • A.All police units are directed to pay special attention to fire stations left unattended to prevent thefts and acts of vandalism.
  • B.If fire stations will not be occupied for an extended period of time, OEMC will advise all police units to pay special attention to the fire stations in their areas.
  • C.Field supervisors will periodically visit Chicago Fire Department facilities within their area of responsibility and discuss current problems with fire personnel. Visits of this nature will be recorded on the Supervisor's Management Log (CPD-11.455).
(Items indicated by italics/double underline were revised)
Authenticated by: JKH
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
14-089 CMW
1. -
Is any building, or any vehicle, aircraft or water craft designed for use as a dwelling.
2. -
Is all property that is not real property (see glossary term for "real property").