State Fire Marshal Reflects on Most Memorable Fire Investigation - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

State Fire Marshal Reflects on Most Memorable Fire Investigations

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The office of state fire marshal has now been in existence for one hundred years.

The job has transitioned and evolved over time--but always has served with the same intent.

Amber Schatz speaks with the state's acting fire marshal--Ray Lambert.

In his career, one fire in particular is burned into Ray Lambert's memory.

"There are several fires that will stay with me forever, the one that really sticks out is the investigation work we did in Grand Forks, with the flood, and the fires to follow--that was certainly memorable experience in my career." says Ray Lambert/State Fire Marshal.

Investigating fires is just one part of his job.

Lambert has been the fire marshal for 13 years.

He has 20 years of firefighting experience during his time in the Air Force, and 25 years in prevention/inspection work.

"Once you go into a fire career, it gets into your system, and no matter what you move up to, or through, once a firefighter--you've heard the statement and I'll make it clearly that-- always a firefighter. The inspection work we do goes right back to preventing fires..." says Ray Lambert/State Fire Marshal.

The Fire Marshal is a support agency that helps other departments determine the location and cause of fires.

This includes the Lone Steer Motel fire in Steele (August 2012), and a devastating fire in Bucyrus--(October 2012).

"It's tough to walk away from a fire, where it started, when I say we can't make a determination, it could be a cigarette, or truck--we just can't make that specific call." says Lambert.

Six deputies are on call to respond 24/7.

They also do training and inspection, making sure schools are current on their fire safety codes.

All to prevent future fires--the highlight in his career.

"I'd like to think that I've saved lives over my career, that's a feeling that I'll take to my grave." says Lambert.

Lambert says his office investigates an average of 100 fires annually.

While he says emergency responses have gone way up-- the number of fire responses has held steady in his 13 years as fire marshal.

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