In fact, though Sullivan officially left his position just a little over a week ago, he continues to answer questions regarding fire investigations.
Sullivan began his career in firefighting in 1982.
During the 30 years, he reached Firefighter Classifications One, Two and Three and attained officer status after several years.
Sullivan was trained in how to drive the big trucks as well as operate the systems to deliver water and to fight the fires.
One of the most memorable fires was the recent Cleveland Chair Co. blaze, a major incident which destroyed a century-old brick structure.
“The causes of many fires can be undetermined, but I search out every detail by digging through the leftover debris,” Sullivan said.
Typically, evidence can be found where a fire originated and from there a possible cause determined.
“Fire investigation and science are fascinating,” Sullivan said.
Wiring, light bulbs, ceiling or floor supports, drywall, paneling and other objects will provide clues to what happened, according to Sullivan.
Accelerants used to aid the spread of fire may leave trace evidence.
Often working hand-in-hand with Tennessee Bomb and Arson investigators, Sullivan always learns something new at fire scenes.
“A fire can react in so many different ways and throw you off of the pursuit to solve the mystery, but through the true evidence, it can be solved,” he said.
Sullivan has also been involved in a number of fire death and homicide investigations during his career.
Through continuing education to gain experience, he developed certifications in Arson Investigation from UT-Martin, and graduated from the Cleveland State Community College Police Academy and the New Mexico Bomb Technician School, as well as U.S. Department of Justice and FBI programs. Sullivan still enjoys sports and other forms of entertainment with his family.
“Grandkids keep us busy,” said Sullivan of him and his wife, June. “We are constantly swimming, going to ball games and family events.”
Sullivan started his career at CFD after seeking a job through then Cleveland Fire Commissioner Kenneth Tinsley, who also was an avid sports fan — especially softball. Sullivan and his brothers were athletic and shared the interest as well.
The Sullivans also enjoy spending time at a little place they put together in the mountains where they go to relax, fish and spend time outdoors.