Paulding County Fire & Rescue announced Tuesday a new office dedicated to investigations, with an 18-year veteran of the department promoted to be its chief.
In his new role as chief fire inspector, Capt. Chris Kendrick will investigate fires and explosions, document incident scenes, interview witnesses, work with the GBI and insurance companies, and provide expert testimony when needed during arson cases.
Previously, Paulding County Fire & Rescue had used certified investigators who also served other roles in the department. "Paulding County continues to grow in population and density. With that growth we've experienced a significant increase in the number of structure fires and other highly complex incidents," Chief Joey Pelfrey said in a news release.
Pelfrey cited more than 16,000 emergency calls in 2019 as reason to appoint someone to concentrate on investigations.