Saturday, November 01, 2014 | The online resource for training fire investigators

CFITrainer.Net ® Podcast

The IAAI and CFITrainer.Net® present these podcasts with a focus on issues relating to fire investigation. With expertise from around the world, the International Association of Arson Investigators produces these podcasts to bring more information and electronic media to fire investigators looking for training, education and general information about fire investigation. Topics include recent technologies, issues in the news, training opportunities, changes in laws and standards and any other topic that might be of interest to a fire investigator or industry professional affected by fire. Information is presented using a combination of original stories and interviews with scientists, leaders in fire investigation from the fire service and the law enforcement community.

June 2014 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast

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Other Episodes
April 2014 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast interviews with Don Robinson, Special Agent in Charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Currently stationed at the National Center for Explosives Training and Research, located at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

January 2014 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast takes a look inside the process of revising NFPA 921 and NFPA 1033.

October 2013 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast focuses on the fire research work of Underwriters’ Laboratories, better known as UL.

February 2013 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month we have an interview with George Codding who returned from a recent trip to Saipan and gives us a closer look at the international activities of the International Association of Arson Investigators

Mid Year 2012 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features a mid-year update on the IAAI’s new initiatives and ways for you to get more involved with the organization.

September 2012 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features an in-depth look at the recent live-burn fire experiments exercise conducted on Governor’s Island, New York by the New York City Fire Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Underwriters Laboratory, and the Trust for Governor’s Island.

August 2012 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This is a special edition of the CFITrainer.Net ® podcast previewing the ITC 2013. There’s a new name for the Annual Training Conference from the IAAI now called the International Training conference.

April 2012 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features an interview with Chief Ernest Mitchell, Jr., the US Fire Administrator. Also we will discuss the upcoming ATC, Annual Training Conference, from the IAAI about to happen in Dover, Delaware.

March 2012 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features an interview with ATF Special Agent Billy Malagassi out of the Tulsa, OK Field Office about investigating fires in clandestine drug labs. We also report on NIST’s findings in the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire and IAAI’s Evidence Collection Practicum.

December 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features one of the presenters from this year’s IAAI ATC and see how a single photo broke the Provo Tabernacle fire case.

October 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features an interview with Deborah Nietch, the new Executive Director of IAAI.

July 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features an interview with Tom Fee discussing details of investigating wildland fires.

June 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month's podcast features a lot of exciting things that are happening at CFITrainer.Net®

May 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month highlights the IAAI ATC in Las Vegas and the third installment in the "It Could Happen to You" series.

ATC 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast discusses the upcoming IAAI Annual Training Conference and National Arson Awareness Week.

April 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This podcast announces the release of the program, The First Responder’s Role in Fire Investigation, which teaches first responders how to make critical observations and take important scene preservation actions at a fire scene.

March 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features some of the instructors from the upcoming 2011 Annual Training Conference, to provide a preview of the courses they will be presenting.

February 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features an update on fire grants and an interview with Steve Austin

January 2011 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features the release of the new edition of Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033, new flammability requirements from UL for pre-lit artificial Christmas trees and a growing fire problem in Dubai with factories turned into worker dormitories.

December 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast focuses on home candle fires, lightning punctures in gas piping, and respiratory diseases in the fire services.

November 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features research findings for structural stability in engineered lumber by UL, the ban on antifreeze in residential sprinkler systems, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation of Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tanks.

October 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features high-profile fire cases, why people leave stovetop cooking unattended and how new sensors under development may improve fire research.

September 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features how to use the ATF’s Bomb Arson Tracking System, IAAI Foundation grants, electrical fires and indoor marijuana cultivation.

August 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast focuses on social media as a fire investigation tool, a potential problem with modular home glued ceilings and research from Underwriters Laboratories on the effects of ventilation on structure fires.

July 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast is a roundtable on some of the latest research and technical activities that impact fire investigation, featuring Daniel Madrzykowski (moderator), Steven Kerber, and Dr. Fred Mowrer.

June 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast discusses career advancement, budget cuts and their impact on fire investigation, and the 2010-2016 ATF Strategic Plan.

ATC 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - Follow-up and Interviews from Orlando. Learn about the conference, hear what attendees had to say.

May 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - The second in our safety series called "It Could Happen To You." Our Long-Term Exposure roundtable is moderated by Robert Schaal.

April 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - The first of our two-part safety series called "It Could Happen To You." Our roundtable is moderated by Robert Schaal.

March 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features a conversation about legislative affairs affecting the fire service with Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Research Institute.

February 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features our interview with a commercial kitchen’s fire expert about what you need to know when you work a commercial kitchen fire.

January 2010 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features a look at preliminary research on corrosion caused by Chinese drywall, a new database focused on fires in historic buildings, a warning on blown-in insulation, and the launch of the new firearson.com web site.

December 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features cooking fires, highlights of the International Code Council’s Annual Meeting on code requirements, including requiring residential sprinkler systems, and an easy way to keep up with recalls from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

November 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features chimney fires, including recent news on surgical flash fires, a proposed national arsonist registry, lightning research and an innovation in personal protective equipment.

October 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast is devoted to Fire Prevention Week.

September 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features the relationship between climate conditions and fire risk, new research on formulating fireproof walls and the latest in IAAI news.

August 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month takes a look at the dangerous combination of summer heat and oily rags, the rise in vacant home fires, and preview research underway on Australia’s devastating "Black Saturday" brush fires.

July 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month features a look at outdoor grill fires, a fatal fire at a homeless camp in Southern NJ, new NIST research on human behavior during building fires, and IAAI news.

June 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features live reports from the 2009 IAAI Annual Training Conference held in May.

May 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This podcast is dedicated to National Arson Awareness Week.

April 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features the NFPA 921 chapter on marine fire investigations and the myth and reality of static electricity as a source of ignition.

March 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month focuses on the rise of the hybrid vehicle and what its unique engineering means for the investigation of vehicle fires, the rash of devastating arson fires in Coatesville, Pennsylvania from December 2008 to February 2009, and news from IAAI.

January 2009 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast focuses on the deepening financial crisis in the US and arson for profit fires, how going green may pose a fire hazard and see how rope lighting may be a source of ignition, and IAAI’s Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony course.

December 2008 CFITrainer.Net® Podcast - This month’s podcast features Christmas tree fires, changes to critical fire investigation publications, the weak economy’s impact on home fires, wind’s effect on structure fires, and ATC 2009.


Transcript

ROD AMMON: And welcome to this podcast for the International Association of Arson Investigators. Today, we’re going to have a brief interview with investigator of the year, Jeff Pride. Jeff just recently won investigator of the year at the ITC conference at the Rio in Las Vegas. Well, the first thing I guess we should do is just thank Jeff for being with us, and Jeff, why don’t you just tell us the story.

JEFF PRIDE: I’m assigned as an arson investigator in Central and Southern Illinois with the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office. In late 2008, I began a series of fire investigations in Cumberland County, Illinois. Throughout the course of these investigations, it was proven to be that most of the fires were determined to be incendiary or intentionally-set fires. The fires originally started out with old barns, vacant houses of that nature, and then led to vacant and some occupied houses within residential neighborhoods of Cumberland County.

During the course of these investigations, I was a part of approximately 23 cases, which were determined to be incendiary fires. During the course of the investigation, I was able to put together some information and evidence that led me to two possible suspects. Those suspects just happened to be members of a volunteer fire department in Cumberland County. Throughout the investigations, I conducted several interviews with these individuals along with other witnesses, but was never really able to get enough information to present a case to the state’s attorney for prosecution. In late 2012 and into early 2013, we had some breaks in the case where we obtained warrants for GPS tracking devices to be put on our suspects’ vehicles, also some video surveillance equipment that was placed in certain locations around Greenup, Cumberland County, and by use of those devices, we were able to collect further evidence to bring our two suspects back in for additional interviews.

Our primary suspect who was a volunteer fireman in Cumberland County initially confessed to a couple of the fires, and throughout the course of further interviews, ended up confessing to a total of 26 incendiary fires that he was a part of. Also, in his confessions, he implicated his partner as being part of those intentionally-set fires as well. As a result of that, we took both suspects to prosecution. Charges were filed. A total of 69 counts were filed against these two individuals. Since then, the cases have concluded in late December of this last year, 2013, and the result of the investigation was that the primary suspect received a total of 22 years imprisonment, and the secondary suspect received a total of eight years imprisonment for these various fires that they had confessed to.

ROD AMMON: Congratulations on a successful prospection, Jeff. So, talk a little bit about the frustrations with a case like this. What are some of the things you’ve learned?

JEFF PRIDE: Well, the biggest frustration of all was I really suspected these two individuals as being involved early on, but being able to collect enough information and evidence to move the case forward for prosecution was difficult in the beginning. There were also some hurdles dealing with other agencies, trying to coordinate information between agencies, trying to make sure information stayed classified throughout the course of the investigation. Once we were able to coordinate between all the agencies involved, we were able to move forward, and as I mentioned previously, collect enough information to present to the state’s attorney for prosecution.

ROD AMMON: It seems like it’s always a challenge to know how to handle the flow of information. Can you tell us how you handled things with this investigation? It went on for a long time.

JEFF PRIDE: One of the biggest lessons that I learned is that, if coordinated in the proper manner, allowing other agencies and other people to assist you, branching out for help basically from other people and other investigators and other agencies where we could come together as one collaboration and put a case together that was solid that we could present to the state’s attorney.

ROD AMMON: Was there a task force?

JEFF PRIDE: The task force was our - not really present in the areas where I work, so most of the time, I’m on my own as far as investigations go. Sometimes I can call in other investigators from my agency for assistance. I had one particular investigator from my agency that I called on a regular basis and discussed these cases with, and it’s - this particular investigator was not close to me distance wise, but was always a phone call away, and I discussed the cases with him. He is an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office as well. His name is Kenny Arnold, and we discussed these cases at great length. So, just being able to share information and ask questions with other investigators was a great benefit in these cases.

ROD AMMON: We communicate with an audience that covers many types of cities and states. Even though you didn’t have a task force, could you talk about your unique situation, and what can you share with us that was unusual about this case?

JEFF PRIDE: As I mentioned, there are not a lot of investigation task forces in my area, but one of the biggest lessons that I learned throughout this whole thing is when you need help, make sure you ask for it. Don’t assume that because you play a certain role or you’re responsible for a certain role that you cannot ask for assistance. There are many other agencies out there that offer different types of assistance. For example, the Illinois State Police was greatly involved in these investigations beginning in late 2012 and into 2013.

Illinois State Police Special Agent Tim Brown was assigned to the case, who I worked with closely, and he provided great assistance in the interview phase of the investigation. So, one of the biggest lessons that I learned was you could be the best investigator in the world, but there’s always someone that can shed something new, can always teach you something that you possibly didn’t know. So, the more eyes that are involved and the more agencies that are involved and professionals that are involved, there’s always an aspect that can be added to your investigation.

ROD AMMON: This was a pretty tough case. What kept you going, Jeff?

JEFF PRIDE: A big part of my motivation push came from other investigators. The investigator that I mentioned earlier, Kenny Arnold, was someone I was in constant contact over the course of this entire investigation, other investigators telling you you’re doing a good job; keep going; you need to do this or you need to do that. Also, having a state’s attorney or prosecutor who is willing to get involved in your investigation, not just from a prosecutorial standpoint, but from a citizen who lives in that county, and when Jonathan Braden, the state’s attorney in this county, got elected and became involved with these cases, he was there.

He was - he came out at night. He was watching my investigations, asking questions, and when you see that kind of support from the state’s attorney and from other investigators, people are relying on you to provide a service. They’re relying on you to figure out what is going on with these situations in their hometown. They’re relying on you to try to solve this particular problem. So, that’s kind of the motivation that kind of kept me going, that I knew I was close and it was just a matter of if I can just get that one last piece of information or one last piece of evidence, I think I can push it over the top, and it was just a matter of the small pieces here and there falling into place until it finally just took hold.

ROD AMMON: Anything that you’d like to add?

JEFF PRIDE: The biggest thing is throughout the course of this, I received great cooperation from my agency, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, from my division manager, Chris Valentine, so I’m very grateful to them.

ROD AMMON: Well, thanks very much and congratulations again on becoming the IAAI investigator of the year. For the International Association of Arson Investigators and CFITrainer.Net®, I’m Rod Ammon.

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