Prose­cu­tor named to fire group

Tom Ost-Prisco ap­pointed to serve on Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

The vol­un­teer fire­fighter who dou­bles as a se­nior prose­cu­tor in the Ch­ester County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice — or is that the other way around? — has been named to serve on the na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion that de­vel­ops guide­lines for fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

On Fri­day, Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tom Ho­gan an­nounced that Deputy Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tom OstPrisco has been ap­pointed to serve on the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (NFPA), the over­sight com­mit­tee that de­vel­ops na­tional guide­lines for fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Ost-Prisco is the only prose­cu­tor serv­ing on the NFPA com­mit­tee, which is made up of ex­perts from mul­ti­ple fields across

the United States. He has served as a prose­cu­tor for 20 years and as a vol­un­teer fire­fighter for over 25 years. He also teaches fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion cour­ses at the U.S. Fire Academy and su­per­vises all ar­son-re­lated cases in the county.

“With decades of ex­pe­ri­ence as both a prose­cu­tor and fire­fighter, Tom OstPrisco pro­vides a unique and in­valu­able re­source to the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion,” said Ho­gan in a news re­lease. “The Ch­ester County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice ap­pre­ci­ates the op­por­tu­nity to as­sist the fire­fight­ing com­mu­nity across the United States with Tom’s ser­vice and in­sight. All of Ch­ester County is proud of Tom.”

The NFPA re­views and

pub­lishes a fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion hand­book ev­ery three years. The hand­book pro­vides evolv­ing best prac­tices to use dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ar­son and ex­plo­sives cases. It cov­ers ev­ery­thing from the ini­tial fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion through trial and is used through­out the coun­try.

Ch­ester County Chief Fire Mar­shal John Weer, who has worked with OstPrisco over the years on ar­son-re­lated cases, con­grat­u­lated the prose­cu­tor.

“This ap­point­ment not only speaks for the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion; Tom has put into the le­gal side of fire and ar­son in­ves­ti­ga­tions, but it also ex­em­pli­fies the hard work and sup­port­ive team work of the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice,” Weer said. “Tom will be a huge as­set to the com­mit­tee as well as the en­tire fire and ex­plo­sion in­ves­tiga­tive teams through­out the na­tion.”

Ost-Prisco, who was in­stru­men­tal in prose­cut­ing the cases in­volv­ing a string of ar­sons in Coatesville in 2008 and 2009, was also re­spon­si­ble for help­ing write new leg­is­la­tion that in­creased penal­ties for ar­son cases in the state.

“I am hon­ored to serve the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, and to work with fire ex­perts from around the county,” Ost-Prisco said in the news re­lease. “The hand­book, known as NFPA 921, is an im­por­tant re­source used by fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors. It is rec­og­nized by both fed­eral and state courts na­tion­wide as a proper foun­da­tion for an in­ves­ti­ga­tor’s ex­pert tes­ti­mony. I am look­ing for­ward to giv­ing prose­cu­tors a voice on this com­mit­tee.”

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