During this two-hour presentation, skills will be shared with seasoned investigators to take a “negative corpus” fire determination and potentially make it into a criminal or civil case, depending on the investigator.
In 2020, a small crew from CFITrainer.Net had the opportunity to travel the country and speak with fire investigators at all stages of their careers to get a sampling of the great diversity of this occupation. We talked about a wide variety of subjects, including their career paths, training practices, the IAAI, and their opinions on opportunities and challenges facing the profession. Our conversations were full of insights and inspiration and we're pleased to share them with you here.
We want to thank Tom Fee, Dan Heenan, Mike Schlatman, Kirk Hankins and others for helping us set up these interviews.
Assistant Fire Chief
Clark County Fire Department
Captain of Fire Prevention
Lenexa Fire Department
Master Firefighter/Shift Investigator
Shawnee Fire Department (KS)
Fire Prevention/Arson Investigator
Downey Fire Department
Senior Fire Investigator
Fire Consulting International, Inc.
Clark County Fire Department
Peek Fire Investigations
Chino Valley Fire District
Senior Fire Prevention Officer
Shawnee Fire Department, Kansas
Arson/Bomb Profiler/Investigator, Author
Clark County Fire Department
The Travelers Company
Fire Forensics and Technology
Los Angeles, CA
Fire Forensics and Technology
Fire Investigator (Retired)
Orange County Fire Authority
Las Vegas, NV
Fire Marshal Agent
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
This program examines the sometimes tricky and complicated scenario that arises when an insurer reports an insured to law enforcement due to suspicious circumstances surrounding a fire claim. In February, 2018, a devastating fire destroyed a commercial property in the Old City section of downtown Philadelphia. The presenters will include an attorney hired by the insurer of the property to conduct examinations under oath, evaluate the claim submission, and provide coverage advice, and the federal prosecutor who obtained information about the fire and insurance claim from the insurer and conducted further investigation, which culminated in convictions for arson and other offenses by the insureds. The presentation will be structured as a case study of the insurance investigation and the subsequent federal criminal investigation that ensued, and how insurers can legally comply with their obligation to report suspected arson claims to law enforcement.
This program provides a primer on accreditation, certification, and certificates for fire investigation training.
This module covers how CNG, LNG, LPG, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles work and their implications for fire investigation.
A fire occurred on the night of Feb. 20, 2003, in The Station nightclub at 211 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island.
Arc Mapping, or Arc Fault Circuit Analysis, uses the electrical system to help reconstruct a scene, providing investigators with a means of determining the area of a fire’s origin.
This module introduces basic electrical concepts, including: terminology, atomic theory and electricity, Ohm’s Law, Joule’s Law, AC and DC power.
A fire occurred on the evening of June 18, 2007, in the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, SC that resulted in the deaths of nine fire fighters.
This module looks at the many ways fire investigators enter and grow in the profession through academia, the fire service, law enforcement, insurance, and engineering.
This module will present a description of the IAAI organization.
This module looks at four of the most commonly-reported accidental fire causes: cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical distribution, and smoking materials.
This program brings three highly experienced fire investigators and an attorney with experience as a prosecutor and civil litigator together for a round table discussion.
This module introduces the elements of a deposition, discusses typical lines of questioning, and describes how to prepare for a deposition.
This module proposes effective ways to respond to the most common questioning tactics employed by opposing counsel in a deposition.
The program discusses the basics of digital photography for fire investigators as well as software and editing procedures for digital images intended as evidence.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in civil proceedings such as fire loss claims and product defect lawsuits.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in criminal proceedings.
This module covers the foundation of DNA evidence: defining, recognizing, collecting, and testing.
This program provides a practical overview of how to perform the baseline documentation tasks that occur at every scene.
This module will discuss the techniques and strategies for conducting a proper science-based fire scene investigation and effectively presenting an investigator’s findings in court as an expert witness.
This program explains the basic principles of how electric and hybrid vehicles are designed and work, including major systems and typical components.
This program discusses common failure modes, evidence handling procedures, and safety protocols for electric and hybrid vehicles.
This module presents critical electrical safety practices that every fire investigator should implement at every scene, every time.
In this program, we will look at emerging technologies that fire investigators are integrating into their daily investigative work with great success.
This self-paced program examines the fire investigator's ethical duties beyond the fire scene.
This module discusses the intersection of social media, ethics, and the relationship of what’s legal to what’s ethical in decision-making.
Should you work for a private lab as a consultant if you are on an Arson Task Force? How about accepting discounts from the local hardware store as a “thanks” for a job well done on a fire they had last year?
This module takes investigators into the forensic laboratory and shows them what happens to the different types of fire scene evidence that are typically submitted for testing.
This module teaches the foundational knowledge of explosion dynamics, which is a necessary precursor to investigating an explosion scene.
This module addresses the foundations of fire chemistry and places it within the context of fire scene investigations.
The program is designed to introduce a new Palm/Pocket PC application called CFI Calculator to users and provide examples of how it can be used by fire investigators in the field.
This module explains fire flow path and discusses the effects of ventilation, fuel availability, and the modern fire environment on that flow path.
This module provides a road map for fire officers to integrate and navigate their fire investigation duty with all their other responsibilities and describes where to obtain specific training in fire investigation.
The evaluation of hazards and the assessment of the relative risks associated with the investigation of fires and explosions are critical factors in the management of any investigation.
This module will describe the most commonly encountered fire protection systems.
This module presents best practices in preparing for and conducting the informational interview with witnesses in the fire investigation case.
This module provides instruction on the fundamentals of residential building construction with an eye toward how building construction affects fire development.
This module provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
This program discusses how to access insurance information, understand insurance documents, ask key questions of witnesses, and apply the information learned.
This module offers a basic introduction about how some selected major appliances operate.
This program introduces the fire investigator to the issues related to the collection, handling and use of evidence related to a fire investigation.
This program takes you inside the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) archives of some of the most interesting and instructive test burns and fire model simulations they have ever conducted.
This program describes the scope of the youth-set fire problem, how fire investigation addresses it, and the fire investigator’s responsibilities in a youth-set fire case.
This module provides a thorough understanding of the ways an investigation changes when a fire-related death occurs.
This self-paced program will help you understand what to expect at a fire where an LODD has occurred, what your role is, how to interact with others, and how to handle special circumstances at the scene.
This program will introduce the fire investigator to the basic methodologies use to investigate vehicle fires.
This module discusses investigating a fire when natural gas is present, including natural gas as an ignition and fire spread source, documentation, and system testing.
This module discusses the juvenile justice system, legalities of interviews and interrogations, arson statutes, search and seizure, and confidentiality.
This program explains what lithium-ion batteries are, how they are constructed, where they are used, safety concerns, and how they can cause fires and explosions.
This program discusses the latest developments in expert testimony under the Daubert standard, including the MagneTek case decided in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
This module focuses on how to manage investigations that have “complicating” factors.
This module uses the Motive, Means, and Opportunity case study to demonstrate how responsibility is determined in an arson case.
This program covers the general anatomy of a motor vehicle and a description of typical components of the engine, electrical, ignition, and fuel systems.
This program describes the function and major components of a motor vehicle’s transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
The 2022 edition of NFPA 1033 and the 2021 edition of NFPA 921 contain changes from their previous editions that are critical to the practice of fire investigation. This module discusses the highlights of those changes and their implications for fire investigation.
This module educates the investigator about NFPA 1033’s importance, its requirements, and how those requirements impact the fire investigator’s professional development.
This module reviews the major changes in NFPA 921 for the 2014 Edition.
This module discusses how photovoltaic systems work, how they are designed and installed, and how to safely interact with them when investigating a fire scene.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module describes ventilation-controlled fire flow and interpretation of postflashover fire damage patterns.
This module demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
This module lays the groundwork for understanding marine fires by covering four basic concepts that the investigator must understand before investigating a marine fire.
In this module, you will learn more about how cancer develops, what occupational exposure risks to carcinogens exist at fire scenes, and how to better protect yourself against those exposures.
The use of the process of elimination in the determination of a fire cause is a topic that has generated significant discussion and controversy in the fire investigation profession.
This module teaches the basics of the electrical power generation, distribution, and transmission system.
This module presents the basics of natural gas and its uses and system components in a residence.
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
This module explains the principles of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, as contained in the amendment and according to subsequent case law, and applies them to typical fire scene scenarios.
This module addresses the foundations of thermometry, including the definition of temperature, the scales used to measure temperature and much more.
This program presents the results of flame experiments conducted with a candle.
This self-paced program explains to non-investigators the role of the fire investigator, what the fire investigator does, how the fire investigator is trained, what qualifications the fire investigator must meet.
This program untangles the meanings of “undetermined,” explains its correct usage, and describes how to properly report “undetermined” fire cause and classification.
This module will advise fire investigators on how to approach the fact-finding procedures necessary and validate a hypothesis.
This module provides an overview on how structures can become vacant and eventually abandoned.
This self-paced program provides a basic framework for structuring the management of fire cases and fire investigators.
This module illustrates how wildland fires spread, explains how to interpret burn patterns unique to these types of fires.