Since 1982



​pADGITT cHIMNEY & fIREPLACE | Padgitt forensic investigations | hEARTHMASTERS PUBLISHING
Specialty O&C Fire Investigations for Insurance Claims


Gene Padgitt is the Vice-President of HearthMasters, Inc. DBA Padgitt Forensic  Investigations. Eugene is one of only two Certified Fire Investigators in the Midwest region that specialize in structural fires related to chimneys, fireplaces, and heating appliances. Gene is considered by his industry peers nationwide to be a foremost expert on chimneys and heating appliances. 

Industry Experience: 
39 years of industry experience in diagnosing chimney and fireplace problems, repairing fireplaces and chimneys: design and building of chimneys, masonry heaters, fireplaces, and brick ovens; installation of wood burning fireplaces, wood stoves, wood stove inserts, wood furnaces, gas logs, gas inserts, and gas stoves. Gene worked as an Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling contractor for ten years, and worked under a general contractor for 15 years. Gene has 22 years of fire investigation experience, and has been a popular industry instructor for 20 years. Gene has completed over 38,000 chimney inspections

Fire Investigation Experience. Gene completed his first fire investigation consultation in 1996 at the request of a local fire marshal. He has completed over 150 Fire investigations involving house fires related to chimneys and heating appliances. He has done fire investigation work for Consolidated Forensic Investigations, Independent Forensics, Dynamic insurance Fire and Fraud Investigations, Anderson Investigations, American Family Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance Company, State Farm Insurance Company, Allied Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company, The Raytown Missouri Fire Department, Allstate Insurance Company, USAA Insurance Company, and others, as well as many attorneys.

Gene holds a Master Mechanical Contractor License in Johnson County, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Raytown, Missouri;  Independence, Missouri, Gladstone, Missouri, and recognized in all other cities and counties in the greater KC area
Missouri State Certified Private Fire Investigator through the Missouri Division of Fire Safety since 2003

Certified Wood-burning Specialist by the National Fireplace Institute 2000-2009
Certified Gas Specialist by the National Fireplace Institute since 2001
Certified Chimney Sweep by the Chimney Safety Institute of America since 1990
CSIA Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician by the Chimney Safety Institute of America 2015 - 2018
Certified Heater Mason by the Masonry Heater Association of North America since 2006
Welding Certificates from Vatterott College 1991-1994
College Education:
Degree in Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling Technology, May 1986, Vatterott & Sullivan College, Kansas City, MO
Gene completed two years of study at Rockhurst College and the Kansas City Art Institute from 1976-1978 with a major in photography.

Annual Education:
1. Attends 8-16 hours of technical classes sponsored by the Johnson County Licensing Board to maintain  Licensed Mechanical Contractor designation annually. 
2. Attends 32 hours of training every three years at the Masonry Heater Association Conference in order to maintain  Certified Heater Mason designation.
3. Attends 16+ hours of training at the Missouri Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators conference annually.
4. Attends 16 hours of training at the National Chimney Sweep Guild annual Convention annually.
5. Attends 16 hours of training at the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association annual Convention every three years.
6. Attends 12-16 hours of training at the annual MCSC Conference annually

About Marge Padgitt

Marge Padgitt has been involved in the chimney and venting industry since 1985. Marge does site investigations, research on products and codes, and writes all of the fire investigation reports for Padgitt Forensic Investigations. She has worked with Gene on investigations since 1996. Marge has served on the board of directors for the Midwest Chimney Safety Council for 25 years. She has served on the board of directors for the Masonry Heater Association of North America, the Midwest Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, and the National Chimney Sweep Guild. She is considered to be an industry expert by her peers. 

Marge has been investigating Unidentified Aerial Phenomena sightings, close encounters, and landings since 1985. She is a Star Team Investigator for MUFON, the largest UFO organization in the world specializing in scientific investigations. Marge had completed over 500 UFO investigations for MUFON, and many more independently.

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep since 1990
NFI Certified Wood-burning Specialist since 2003
Star Team Field Investigator for MUFON since 2009

112 hours of study in Communication and Business courses at UMKC
Over 80 hours annual education at chimney and hearth industry conferences, Fire Investigator and Private Investigator conferences since 2006

The Chimney and Hearth Pro's Resource Book 2013 (available at Amazon)
Wood-Fired Heating and Cooking 2020
Investigating Chimney and Heating Appliance fires (coming soon)
Inspecting Chimneys and Fireplaces (coming soon) 
Author of over 250 articles for SNEWS, SWEEPING, Masonry Construction, Wood-Fired Magazine,,, The Midwest Chimney Safety Council News Magazine, The MUFON Journal, the Missouri MUFON Newsletter, and others. 

Marge has developed and presented over 100 classes for the chimney and hearth industry, code official, ​insurance adjusters, home inspectors, and UFO investigators. 

Articles Written by Gene and Marge Padgitt:
Is the Smoke Chamber a Smoking Gun?  Masonry Construction Magazine, April 2008
Fire Investigations Regarding Pre-Manufactured Appliances, Printed in SWEEPING Magazine, 9/2001
A series of 12 forensic articles for SNEWS magazine
Demonstrating how to avoid installation and maintenance issues that can lead to a structural fire 2009-2012
Rebuilding a Leaning Chimney, SNEWS Magazine, October, 2012
Masonry Heater Maintenance, SWEEPING Magazine, January, 2013
Over 150 articles written by Marge Padgitt for,, and SNEWS magazine.  


All reports are compiled, researched, and written by Marge Padgitt, LIcensed Private Investigator #2021013352.
Marge has 35 years experience in the industry, She holds a Wood-burning specialist Certification from the National Fireplace Institute; is a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, and is a specialty UFO landing site investigator. She is a certified field investigator with MUFON.

Marge is the president of HearthMasters, Inc., ex- president of the Midwest Chimney Safety Council, and served on the board of directors for the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the Midwest Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, and the Masonry Heater Association of North America.

Marge is the author of over 200 articles and 14 books including Chimney and Fireplace Fire Investigations, UFO Landing Site Investigations, and the Homeowner's Guide to Heating and Cooking with Wood.  

We offer:

- Consulting Services

- Expert Witness Services

- On-site Fire Investigations

- Classroom training
for investigators

Specialty investigations of structural fires related to chimneys, fireplaces, and heating appliances.
We write reports that are clear and concise, citing codes and standards and showing photos of problem areas. Gene provides his opinion as to Origin and Cause of the fire.  

Gene serves as an expert witness for court cases, but often cases are settled out of court based on our findings and detailed reports. 

Our senior investigator is Gene Padgitt, Certified Private Fire Investigator by the Missouri Department ​of Public Safety since 2003.
Marge Padgitt assists Gene on investigations, does research, and writes all of the investigation reports.

Gene Padgitt, PFI

Marge Padgitt, PI



Specialty forensic investigations for structural fires related to chimneys, vents, and heating appliances and other specialty investigations. (NO ARSON or UNRELATED FIRES)

O & C Fire Investigations
By Gene Padgitt, Licensed Private Fire Investigator

We do origin and cause investigations for fires in and around chimneys and vents; and heating appliances including fireplaces of all types, wood-burning stoves, gas logs, gas furnaces, gas inserts and stoves. 

We provide a detailed written report of our findings with photos, and cite codes and standards where applicable. Many forensics investigators, fire marshals, and insurance companies put their trust in us when they believe a chimney or heating appliance is involved in fire damage. You will get an honest and thorough evaluation. We will travel anywhere in Missouri for this service. See Gene's resume' below.

Forensics investigators often accompany Gene Padgitt on the site, and have the confidence to give him the "lead," which means that Gene takes charge of the dig-out and investigation, and the order in which things occur. The detail in this process is very important, and taking photos of every item is necessary. Often, contact with a manufacturer, acquiring an installation manual, and reference to NFPA 211 Standards and IRC codes is necessary before a statement can be made regarding origin and cause of the fire.

Expert Witness Services
Gene will provide expert witness services for court cases. He can testify in court, do depositions, or provide detailed reports and statements.         

​All of our reports are written by Marge Padgitt, CCS, NFI. 

Call 816-461-3665 to schedule. Please fax assignment sheets to 816-461-2818