Padgitt Forensic Investigations

About Gene and Marge Padgitt

A division of HearthMasters, inc.

Marge Padgitt has been involved in the chimney and venting industry since 1985. Marge does 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. 


  • CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep since 1990
  • NFI Certified Wood-burning Specialist since 2003


  • 112 hours of study in Business courses at UMKC
  • Over 80 hours annual education at chimney and hearth industry conferences and IAAI meetings since 1987


  • Author of the Chimney and Hearth Pro's Resource Book 2013 (available at Amazon)
  • The Homeowner's Guide to Chimneys and Heating Appliances 2018
  • 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, and others. 


Marge has developed and presented over 100 classes for the chimney and hearth industry, as well as barter organizations, code official meetings, insurance adjusters, and home inspectors. 

Gene Padgitt is the Vice-President of HearthMasters, Inc. DBA Padgitt Forensic  Investigations. HearthMasters is the largest chimney company within 200 miles of  Kansas City. 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: 
36 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 at least 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

Instructional Seminars Designed and Taught by Gene Padgitt:

Scaffold and Ladder Safety, Missouri Chimney Sweep Guild annual meeting, August 1998
Installation of a Gas-Burning Fireplace Insert, Missouri Chimney Sweep Guild annual meeting, August 1999
Chimney Inspection Guidelines for the Home Inspector, ASHI Plains Chapter Meeting, August 2000
Masonry Repair Methods for Chimney Crowns and Fireplaces, MCSC Annual Conference, 2002
Construction of Rumford and Bellfires Fireplaces: Midwest Chimney Safety Council, March, 2002
What is a Rumford Fireplace? Midwest Chimney Safety Council Annual Conference, 2003
Level III Chimney and House Fire Origin and Cause Investigations, MCSC Annual Conference, 2003
Understanding Make-up Air, Midwest Chimney Safety Council Annual Conference, March 27, 2004
Solving Negative Air Pressure Problems, Masonry Heater Association Annual Conference, April, 2004
Construction of Masonry Bake Ovens, Midwest Chimney Safety Council, April 2005
Forensic Evaluations of Structural Fires Caused by Chimneys and Heating Appliances: Hearth, Patio, and  Barbeque Association April 2010
Stone Chimney Restoration, and Rumford fireplace building, Midwest Chimney Safety Council,  August 2010
Bake Oven Building Workshop, Midwest Chimney Safety Council, June 2011
Masonry Finishing in Stone and Brick, Midwest Chimney Safety Council workshop, May, 2012
Building an Outdoor Smoker, Masonry Heater Association, April 2013
Rumford Fireplace Construction, National Chimney Sweep Guild, April, 2013
Identifying Negative House Pressure, Midwest Chimney Safety Council workshop August 2013
Installation of a Whole-House Ventilator, Midwest Chimney Safety Council workshop August 2013
Masonry Chimney Restoration, Midwest Chimney Safety Council Conference, June, 2016
Negative Pressure and Masonry Heaters, Masonry Heater Association of North America, April, 2016
How to Construct an Outdoor Brick Oven, HearthMasters Masonry School, June, 2017
How to Repair Stucco and Plaster, Midwest Chimney Safety Council Conference June, 2017
Introduction to Masonry Heater Core Construction, Midwest Chimney Safety Council Conference, June 2018

HearthMasters Traveling Masonry School
Gene and Marge Padgitt opened the school in 2014 with courses designed and presented by Gene and Marge Padgitt:

  • Basic Masonry Construction
  • Brick Oven Construction
  • Chimney and Fireplace Construction
  • Masonry Heater Construction
  • Chimney Relining Methods
  • Service Business Classes

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
  • Gene has also consulted on over 150 articles written by Marge Padgitt for,, and SNEWS magazine.