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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

299F.04 ORIGIN OF FIRE INVESTIGATED.
    Subdivision 1. Duty. The chief of the fire department of each city in which a fire department
is established, and the mayor of each city in which no fire department exists, and the president of
the statutory city board of each statutory city in which no fire department exists, and the town
clerk of each town without the limits of any city or statutory city, shall investigate, or cause to
be investigated, the cause, origin, and circumstances of each fire occurring in the city, statutory
city or town by which property has been destroyed or damaged when the damage exceeds $100,
except that all fires of unknown origin shall be reported, and shall especially make investigation
as to whether the fire was the result of carelessness, accident, or design.
    Subd. 2. Coordination by state fire marshal. The investigation shall be begun within two
days of the occurrence of the fire and the state fire marshal shall have the right to coordinate the
investigation on deeming it necessary.
    Subd. 3. Reporting and records requirements. The officer making investigation of fires
occurring in cities, statutory cities and towns shall forthwith notify the state fire marshal and shall,
within one week of the occurrence of the fire, furnish to the state fire marshal a written statement
of all the facts relating to the cause and origin of the fire and such further information as may
be called for by the blanks furnished by the state fire marshal. The state fire marshal shall keep
a record of all fires occurring in the state, together with all facts, statistics, and circumstances,
including the origin of the fires, which may be determined by the investigation provided by this
chapter. These statistics shall be at all times open to public inspection.
    Subd. 3a. Arson investigative data system. (a) As used in this section, "criminal justice
agency" means state and local prosecution authorities, state and local law enforcement agencies,
local fire departments, and the Office of State Fire Marshal.
(b) The state fire marshal shall administer and maintain a computerized arson investigative
data system for the purpose of assisting criminal justice agencies in the investigation and
prosecution of suspected arson violations. This data system is separate from the reporting system
maintained by the Department of Public Safety under section 299F.05, subdivision 2. The system
consists of data on individuals who are 14 years old or older who law enforcement agencies
determine are or may be engaged in arson activity. Notwithstanding section 260B.171, subdivision
5
, data in the system on adults and juveniles may be maintained together. Data in the system must
be submitted and maintained as provided in this subdivision.
(c) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (d), a criminal justice agency may submit the
following data on suspected arson violations to the arson investigative data system:
(1) the suspect's name, known aliases, if any, and other identifying characteristics;
(2) the modus operandi used to commit the violation, including means of ignition;
(3) any known motive for the violation;
(4) any other crimes committed as part of the same behavioral incident;
(5) the address of the building, the building owner's identity, and the building occupant's
identity; and
(6) the name of the reporting agency and a contact person.
A criminal justice agency that reports data to the arson investigative data system shall maintain
records documenting the data in its own records system for at least the time period specified in
paragraph (e).
(d) The state fire marshal shall maintain in the arson investigative data system any of the
data reported under paragraph (c) that the fire marshal believes will assist in the investigation
and prosecution of arson cases. In lieu of or in connection with any of these data, the state fire
marshal may include in the data system a reference to the criminal justice agency that originally
reported the data, with a notation to system users that the agency is the repository of more detailed
information on the particular suspected arson violation.
(e) Notwithstanding section 138.17, the state fire marshal shall destroy data on juveniles
entered into the system when three years have elapsed since the data were entered into the system,
except as otherwise provided in this paragraph. If the fire marshal has information that, since
entry of data into the system, the juvenile has been convicted as an adult or has been adjudicated
or has a stayed adjudication as a juvenile for an offense that would be a crime if committed by
an adult, the data must be maintained until three years have elapsed since the last record of a
conviction, adjudication, or stayed adjudication of the individual. Upon request of the criminal
justice agency that submitted data to the system, the state fire marshal shall destroy the data
regardless of whether three years have elapsed since the data were entered into the system.
(f) Data in the arson investigative data system are confidential data on individuals as defined
in section 13.02, subdivision 3, but are accessible to criminal justice agencies.
    Subd. 4. Investigation by state fire marshal. The state fire marshal may conduct further
investigation necessary to establish reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of Minnesota
Statutes 1976, sections 609.561 to 609.576, has occurred.
    Subd. 5. Notification. (a) As used in this subdivision, "chief officer" means the city fire
marshal or chief officer of a law enforcement agency's arson investigation unit in a city of the
first class.
(b) The officer making investigation of a fire resulting in a human death shall immediately
notify either the state fire marshal or a chief officer. The state fire marshal or chief officer may
conduct an investigation to establish the origin and cause regarding the circumstance of the
death. If the chief officer undertakes the investigation, the officer shall promptly notify the state
fire marshal of the investigation and, after the investigation is completed, shall forward a copy
of the investigative report to the state fire marshal. Unless the investigating officer does so, the
state fire marshal or chief officer shall immediately notify the appropriate coroner or medical
examiner of a human death occurring as a result of a fire. The coroner or medical examiner shall
perform an autopsy in the case of a human death as provided in section 390.11, subdivision
2a
, or 390.32, subdivision 2a, as appropriate.
History: (5955) 1913 c 564 s 6; 1967 c 543 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1978 c 777 s 2,3; 1986
c 444; 1993 c 326 art 5 s 1; 1998 c 367 art 11 s 9; 1999 c 139 art 4 s 2