Acacia Investigations derived
its name from the acacia tree, a small tree with feathery leaves and
pleasant-smelling yellow flowers that is found in warmer climates. The
acacia tree dates to antiquity and in ancient legend is the clue that led
investigators to find the body of a missing, murdered craftsman, whose
loss had been concealed in lies. The body is found and the truth revealed
when investigators find a branch of an acacia tree out of place at the
victim’s gravesite and exhumed the body. It is this “digging for the
truth”, which moves any successful investigation forward and digging is
most certainly required in fire investigation.
Bob Nattrass founded Acacia
Investigations in 1993 after a twenty-year career with the Connecticut State
Police, which included an extended tour of duty in the Office of the State Fire
Marshal, from where he retired as a supervisor of the Fire Investigation and
Enforcement Unit. During his public service career, he was responsible for the
investigation and/or supervision of investigation of over 850 major structure
After a very successful year, Acacia Investigations’ operations were halted, so
that a journey to the Ukraine could be undertaken to adopt a child. It is
interesting to note that prior to this trip, Bob had never seen an acacia tree.
During an afternoon walk in Odessa along the Black Sea, a member of the
Nattrass’ host family pointed out the beautiful acacia trees that lined the
street. After returning from the Ukrainian trip, a decision was made to accept
a position as a special investigator with a major insurance company dealing with
property lines. This decision was most rewarding. It provided an education
involving the operations and goals of the insurance industry and claim
investigation. Two years after accepting this position, the opportunity to
change companies and become an all lines special investigator came and was
January 1998, with four years in-house insurance investigation experience and
education, the decision was made to reopen Acacia Investigations. The
concentration would be on fire origin and cause investigation, the most
challenging of all investigations.
Continued business growth and the desire to provide the best customer service
available led to the expansion of Acacia Investigations in September 1999 when
James Butterworth, a fire investigator with exceptional investigative experience
and a pioneer in accelerant detection canine training joined us. William Lewis
retired from the Connecticut State Fire Marshal’s Office as Senior Fire
Investigator and joined our team in September 2001. Bill is a leader in
the fire service and experienced Fire Marshal. Michael Grasso, who has
extensive law enforcement, firefighting, fire code and fire investigation
experience and is a Certified Fire Investigator, joined our team in 2005. Roger
Baxter immediately joined our team after retiring from the Connecticut State
Marshal's Office as Senior Fire Investigator/Accelerant Canine Handler in 2009.
He has testified numerous times as an expert in both criminal and civil courts.
Thomas Madigan, an experienced, Certified Fire Investigator joined our team in
2010 as demands for service continued to grow. Tom has expanded our
coverage into Massachusetts where he has been involved in fire investigation for
many years. “Digging for
the truth” continues. Acacia Investigations is licensed, bonded and insured.