The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal, located in Reynoldsburg, is the oldest
established office of its kind in the United States. It was created in April 1900
and the first State Fire Marshal, S.D. Hollenbeck, was appointed one month later.
The office of State Fire Marshal was originally created to combat arson and a growing
number of fraudulent insurance claims resulting from intentionally set fires.
While the investigation of arson fires remained a key component of the State Fire
Marshal’s mission, many additional duties and bureaus were added over the years.
In the early 1900s, fire prevention programs were established to help reduce the
number of fires and teach citizens of the dangers fires present.
In November 1967, the Ohio State Firemen’s Training Academy, now known as the Ohio
Fire Academy, was established. Ohio became the first state to develop an arson laboratory
in 1973 with funds from LEAA, a federal law enforcement grant. In 1977, both the
academy and the laboratory moved to its present location in Reynoldsburg. At that
time, the 50-acre campus also housed the arson, inspection and fire prevention bureaus.
Today, the Division of State Fire Marshal consists of eight bureaus: Administration,
Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation (BUSTR), Code Enforcement (including
the Fireworks Unit), Fire Prevention, Foresnic Laboratory, Fire & Explosion Investigation
Bureau, Ohio Fire Academy and Testing and Registration.
The Division of State Fire Marshal recently completed it $10 million renovation
and expansion project which began in 2005. The State Fire Marshal headquarters now
sits on more than 70 acres and includes state-of-the-art classrooms, a 350-person
auditorium and modern dormitories. In addition, new office space allows all eight
Division of State Fire Marshal bureaus to operate from one location.
The Division of State Fire Marshal has worked extensively in the areas of Incident
Command and Management, Weapons of Mass Destruction training and personnel protection
equipment for all of Ohio's first responders, including fire, EMS, law enforcement,
health and public works.
The Division of State Fire Marshal also is responsible for modernizing, promulgating
and enforcing the Ohio Fire Code; designing and presenting fire prevention programs;
analyzing fire-related criminal evidence; investigating the cause and origin of
fires and explosions; training firefighters; providing fire safety education to
business, industry and the general public; regulating underground storage tanks;
testing and training; and licensing and certification support services.
The Division of State Fire Marshal continues to be an innovator in training, investigations,
forensics, prevention and fire code development as it strives to keep Ohio’s citizens
safe from the dangers of fire. Working as part of a larger Department of Commerce
team, the Division of State Fire Marshal hopes to continue to make Ohio one of the
best states in which to live, work and visit.