A fire marshal or “Fire Commissioner”, in the United States and Canada, is often a member of a state, provincial or territorial government, but may be part of a building department or a separate department altogether. Fire marshals’ duties vary but usually include fire code enforcement or investigating fires for origin and cause. Fire marshals may be sworn law-enforcement officers and are often experienced firefighters. In larger cities with substantially developed fire departments the local fire departments are sometimes delegated some of the duties of the fire marshal.
A fire marshal’s duties vary by location. Fire marshals may carry a weapon, wear a badge, wear a uniform or plain clothes, and make arrests pertaining to arson and related offenses, or, in other localities, may have duties entirely separate from law enforcement, including building- and fire-code-related inspections. In many areas, the fire marshal is responsible for enforcing laws concerning flammable materials.