WICOMICO COUNTY – Master Deputy State Fire Marshal Kirby Travers is retiring from the Office of the State Fire Marshal after 25 years in law enforcement.
After graduating from Frostburg State University, Travers began his career with the Maryland Division of Correction in September 1998 as a correctional officer at the Eastern Correctional Institute in Somerset County. Travers decided to pursue his dream of becoming a fire investigator and, after a rigorous hiring process, was hired by the Maryland Department of State Police - Office of the State Fire Marshal in June 2005.
After the police academy, Travers was assigned to the Lower Eastern Regional Office, where he spent his entire career and was awarded regional Deputy State Fire Marshal of the Year in 2017 and 2022. He received a Unit Citation and a Fire Marshal Commendation in 2015 for covering on-call for the Upper Eastern Regional Office for six months. In 2016, he received a Certificate of Recognition from the agency for his work on the explosion at the Flower Branch Apartment Complex in Silver Spring.
Former State Fire Marshal Bill Barnard recognized Travers' attention to detail and analytical skills and was assigned as the legislative liaison during each session of the Maryland legislature, where he tracked and wrote positions on bills affecting the agency and prepared testimony. He continued this assignment under the current State Fire Marshal, Brian S. Geraci.
"I and everyone at the Office of the State Fire Marshal extend our gratitude to Kirby for his dedicated 25 years of service to the citizens of Maryland, and we wish him all the best with his retirement," Geraci stated.
A notable case in Travers' career included being the lead investigator on a fire that resulted in a homicide in January of 2008. He and the Cambridge Police Department worked diligently to determine who was responsible for setting the fire and the occupant's death. As a result of his work and Travers' expert testimony, the suspect was found guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree arson and sentenced to life in prison for the homicide plus an additional 30 years for the arson.
In 2019, the case was challenged after a purported fire expert challenged the conviction, resulting in a post-conviction hearing. As a result of Travers’ well-documented work, the defense expert was not allowed to qualify as an expert and give testimony in the field of fire origin and cause.
Travers was the lead investigator on 527 fire investigations, conducted 2,168 fire safety inspections, and made 58 arson/explosive-related arrests during his career.
Deputy Chief Matt Stevens, regional commander of the Lower Eastern Regional Office, stated, "I have seen firsthand Kirby's hard work at fire scenes, never stepping back and allowing younger or less experienced investigators to dig out fires. He always came to the scene with a shovel in his hand, ready to go to work. Kirby was relentless after determining a fire was criminal, chasing down every lead he developed from Cambridge to Crisfield and everywhere in between."