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: 
40 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 23 years of fire investigation experience, and has been a popular industry instructor for 22 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 his Certified Heater Mason designation.
3. Attends 16+ hours of training at the Missouri Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators conference annually.
4. Attended 16 hours of training at the National Chimney Sweep Guild annual Convention or in -house annually from 1989-2019.
5. Attended 18 hours of training at the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association annual Convention every three years from 1989-2019

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 served on the board of directors for the Midwest Chimney Safety Council for 25 years. She 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.

Marge has her own specialty area. She has been investigating Unidentified Aerial Phenomena sightings, close encounters, and landings since 1985. She is a Star Team Investigator for MUFON, the largest organization in the world specializing in scientific investigations of UFOs/UAPs. Marge had completed over 550 UFO investigations for MUFON, and many more independently.
She is currently working on a book about this subject.

CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep from 1990 to 2022
NFI Certified Wood-burning Specialist from 2003 to 2020
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,, SWEEPING Magazine,
Masonry Magazine, and SNEWS magazine. 

Multiple articles for the HearthMasters blog 


All reports are compiled, researched, and written by Marge Padgitt, Licensed Private Investigator #2021013352.
Marge has 36 years experience in the industry, She held a Wood-burning specialist Certification from the National Fireplace Institute 25 years, and is a Chimney Safety Institute of America Certified Chimney Sweep. She is also a specialty UFO landing site investigator. Marge 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 Heating Appliance Fire Investigations, The Chimney and Hearth Pro's Resource Book, UFO Landing Site Investigations, and Wood-Fired Heating and Cooking.  

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

Call 816-461-3665 or

Marge Padgitt, PI



Specialty forensic investigations or consulting for structural fires related to chimneys, vents, and wood or gas heating appliances.

O & C Fire Investigations
By Gene Padgitt, Missouri Licensed Private Fire Investigator #20165040473
Licensed Mechanical Contractor in multiple jurisdictions
Ex-CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep #2261
NFI Certified Gas Specialist
MHA Certified Heater Mason
Degree in HVACR

We specialize in origin and cause investigations for structural fires related to chimneys and vents, heating appliances including fireplaces of all types, wood-burning stoves and inserts, gas logs, gas furnaces, boilers, gas fireplace inserts, freestanding stoves, and dryers. 

Together with 40 years experience as a chimney contractor, chimney inspector, and mason, and his training received in fire investigations, Gene has the knowledge needed for this specialty area in order to determine origin and cause.

We provide a detailed written report of our findings with photos, and we cite IRC Code and NFPA 211 Standards where applicable. Many forensic 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 to do investigations, or anywhere in the U.S. as a consultant. See Gene's resume' below.

Forensic 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. Gene is also available to work as a consultant for other fire investigators.        

​All of our reports are written by Marge Padgitt, Licensed MO Private Investigator, ex-CCS 

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