OFMEM - Directive 2015-002



This directive is issued under the provisions of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, (FPPA) S.O. 1997, chapter 4, clause 9.(1)(b). It is the responsibility of every Assistant to the Fire Marshal to follow the Fire Marshal’s directive as set out in subsection 11.(1) of the FPPA.


Under clause 9.(2)(a) of the FPPA, it is a duty of the Fire Marshal to investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of any fire or of any explosion or condition that, in the opinion of the Fire Marshal, might have caused a fire, explosion, loss of life or damage to property. In order to carry out this duty, specified fires must be reported to the Fire Marshal. Clauses 11.(2) and 11.(3) of the FPPA, establish fire reporting duties for Assistants to the Fire Marshal.


All Assistants to the Fire Marshal shall notify forthwith the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) Duty Officer, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) at 1-800-461-2281 (toll free) of all incidents that meet the following criteria:

  • Fires resulting in either a fatality or serious injury requiring person(s) to be admitted as in-patient(s) to a hospital (it is the responsibility of the fire department to confirm the status of injured persons transported by ambulance prior to release of the fire scene);
  • Explosions (where the explosion is the primary event);
  • All fires in vulnerable occupancies (i.e. retirement homes, care and treatment occupancies, and care occupancies as defined in the Fire Code);
  • Fires suspected of being incendiary and for which expert investigative assistance is required with determining cause, origin or circumstance;
  • Large loss fires, $500,000 and over or where the loss is significant to the community;
  • Fires of unusual origin or circumstances and for which expert investigative assistance is required with determining cause;
  • Fires resulting in unusual fire/smoke spread;
  • Fires involving circumstances that may result in widespread public concern (e.g. environmental hazard);
  • Fires in multi-unit residential occupancies where fire spread is beyond unit of origin or where suspected Fire Code violations have impacted on the circumstances of the event; and
  • Fires involving clandestine drug operations or marijuana grow operations.

The Fire Investigation Services section will engage in a 24/7 capacity to all reports of fatal fires, serious injury fires, explosions and fires in all vulnerable occupancies. All other reported fires under this directive will be deferred to regular business hours (7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) in order of priority and subject to availability of resources. An OFMEM manager is available after hours to deal with unusual circumstances that call for direct consultation with the OFMEM.

When an OFMEM response is deferred to the next normal work period, the PEOC Duty Officer will inform the caller that all steps shall be taken to secure the scene and that the OFMEM will be notified of the request at 7:30 a.m.

Part of the mandate of the OFMEM is to assist the local police in determining whether a fire was purposely set and in carrying out significant criminal investigations. Fire investigation protocols require that the security of the scene be maintained prior to the arrival of an OFMEM or police investigator.

When a fire investigation is assigned to an investigator, it is the responsibility of the fire department to provide all necessary documents, including, but not limited to, firefighter statements, dispatch chronology, incident commander report detailing suppression and overhaul activities, and fire prevention files as required by the investigator. Media releases should be kept to a minimum where an investigation will be conducted and all media issues deferred to the lead investigating agency.


This directive provides direction to Assistants to the Fire Marshal on the reporting of fire incidents in support of the prescribed duties of the Fire Marshal under the FPPA.


Jim Jessop
Fire Marshal of Ontario and Chief of Emergency Management

July 21, 2015