Cpt. Flinn named to investigation board

PARKERSBURG – Captain Tim Flinn of the Parkersburg Fire Department was named to his second term on the Board of Directors for the West Virginia Division of the International Association of Arson Investigation, officials said.

The International Association of Arson Investigation focuses on investigating and prosecuting the crime of arson, minimizing fraudulent insurance claims, and protecting consumers from faulty products, said Korri Powers, executive secretary of the International Association of Arson Investigation of West Virginia.

Flinn is excited about being nominated to his second term. “I am very appreciative of my fellow fire investigators from around the state for considering me for this,” Flinn said.

The International Association of Arson Investigation divides itself into state chapters in order to facilitate the training and education on the sources of arson, said Powers.

The volunteer-based organization provides its members with the most up-to-date training and information on arson investigation. It focuses on including members from law enforcement, firefighters, attorneys and insurance agencies from across the state, said Powers.

“Investigating fires takes a lot of perseverance and time,” said Flinn. Giving others the education they need in order to investigate fires properly is one of Flinn’s goals for his second term.

Flinn also serves on the training and education committee with the International Association of Arson Investigation. Through his educational efforts, he hopes to get a training seminar in the local area for fire investigators, law enforcement, insurance agents and prosecutors to attend, Flinn said.

“I think we should focus on the basic causes of fires for new investigators,” Flinn said. He hopes to create a class that will focus on the basics of fire investigation, as well as both accidental causes of fires and arson techniques and how to differentiate between the two, he said.

For experienced investigators, Flinn hopes that advanced courses will further the education of everyone in the Mid-Ohio Valley who has an ongoing interest in arson investigation.

Flinn was named to the International Arson Investigation board of directors four years ago, said Powers. When Flinn stepped up to fill one of the five available seats, he began representing not only Parkersburg, but the surrounding area of the state as well.

Flinn focused most of his energy on the continued training of arson investigation across the state during his first three-year term on the board of directors, said Powers.

Flinn has been a member of the International Association of Arson Investigation for seven years, said Powers. When he started, he made it a point to attend every meeting that he could, and was eager to learn everything that he could about arson investigation, Powers said.

As the meetings of the International Association of Arson Investigation are held at different locations around the state, attending the meetings may not always be a matter of driving across town, said Powers. However, Flinn attended every meeting he could, and was always eager to take information back to his department.

“He is always asking for additional handouts, and asking clarifying questions so that he could teach others what he had learned when he got back home,” said Powers.

Parkersburg always tries to send three or four firefighters to training sessions with the International Association of Arson Investigation, said Powers. Even when these other firefighters attend, Flinn is known for taking information back to share with other firefighters who couldn’t attend the meeting, she said.

When Flinn was named to the board of directors three years ago, he increased his focus on training others and providing situations that could help further arson investigation in the state of West Virginia and across the nation, said Powers.

“Tim is always very focused on training opportunities,” said Powers. “He always keeps the training and assistance of new members at the top of his priority list, and tries to give everyone the answers that they seek,” she said.