95. The fire investigation commissioner or any firefighter, peace officer or other person specially designated in writing by the commissioner for a specified period may, to determine the point of origin, probable causes and circumstances of a fire or to establish any connection with other fires,
(1) prohibit access to the scene of the fire, for the time needed for the investigation, to facilitate the search for or the preservation of any thing that may be useful to the investigation ;
(2) inspect the scene of the fire and any other premises if there is reasonable cause to believe an inspection may be useful to the investigation, and examine or seize documents or things on the premises that, in the person’s opinion, may be of assistance in determining the point of origin, probable causes or circumstances of the fire or establishing any connection with other fires ;
(3) enter any premises to search for and seize any document or thing that may be useful to the investigation if there is reasonable cause to believe the document or thing can be found on those premises ;
(4) take photographs of the premises and of any thing ;
(5) make copies of documents ;
(6) conduct or order such expert appraisals as are considered necessary ; and
(7) collect the accounts of witnesses.
However, premises may not be entered for inspection purposes or for the purpose of searching for, examining or seizing any things without the prior authorization of a justice of the peace. Prior authorization may be granted, subject to the conditions specified, if the justice of the peace is satisfied on the basis of an affidavit of the fire investigation commissioner or the person designated by the latter that the point of origin, probable causes or circumstances have not been determined or that connections with other fires have not been established and that there is reason to believe that inspecting the premises and searching for, examining or seizing any things found on the premises may prove relevant to the investigation. The authorization, whether acted upon or not, shall be returned to the justice of the peace who granted it not later than 15 days after its issue.
However, no authorization is required for access to the fire-damaged premises within 24 hours after a fire or where the conditions for obtaining the authorization exist and, owing to the urgency of the situation, the time required to obtain an authorization may seriously endanger human health or safety or the safety of property, or result in the disappearance, destruction or loss of anything that may be useful to the commissioner’s investigation.
2000, c. 20, s. 95; 2001, c. 76, s. 188; I.N. 2016-01-01 (NCCP).