Roanoke firefighters say while cooking fires are common, cause goes undetermined for many

13 of 76 fires over the past eight months were deemed ‘undetermined’

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke firefighters work tirelessly to put out fires. But the investigation afterwards is where the true case lies.

With more people staying indoors due to the pandemic and the holidays approaching, cooking fires are common right now, according to Roanoke Fire-EMS.

But it’s not always easy to determine the cause of a fire. In fact, over the past eight months, the causes of 13 out of the 76 investigated fires were deemed “undetermined.”

Since fires can destroy most of the evidence in a case, “That often makes fire investigation a particular challenge,” said Roanoke Fire-EMS Fire Marshal David Guynn. “There are fewer other crimes and incidents where the evidence of how it started or consumed is part of the incident.”

Depending on the return of lab results, most investigations can take about two to four weeks to complete.