Tuesday, May 23, 2017 | 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.

The Ghost Ship

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Transcript

ROD AMMON: Welcome to this podcast for CFITrainer.Net. We hope you’re all doing well out there with your investigations and all of your efforts to keep the public and yourselves safe from fire. On this month’s podcast, we’re talking about the Ghost Ship Fire and other past fires that remind us of the importance of fire codes. Why do we still have fires like this with such loss of life in a time where we have technology and knowledge that can stop them? Today, we’re talking to Patrick Wills who was a fire captain and fire investigation for the city of Long Beach, California. He does presentations around the country about fire code, and specifically he has talked to the IAAI membership about the Paradise Gardens Fire and what can be learned. Captain Wills was a teenage fire explorer in 1971 and was doing fire inspections at 16 years old. Pat has 38 years in the fire service and spent his last 17 years as a full-time supervisor of the arson unit in Long Beach, California. During that time, Pat carried a full caseload. Welcome to the podcast, Pat.

PATRICK WILLS: Hello sir, glad to be with you.

ROD AMMON: It’s – we very much appreciate your time. When you and I spoke, you spoke very highly of the team you had in Long Beach. Why don’t you start off by telling us what you felt was the great part, the shining light about the group that you worked with?

PATRICK WILLS: Well, I had a team of investigators that included a special agent from the Los Angeles field office of ATF. He was actually stationed in-house with us. I had a full-time detective from the Long Beach Police Department, and I had firefighter investigators from the ranks of the Long Beach Fire Department, but also most important was that the fire administration from all the fire chiefs that I worked with and certainly knew throughout my career all supported the investigations unit and tried to maintain an adequate staffing level certainly from the time I took over in 1998 through my time, through 2014 when I retired. So the support from the administration to the fire investigation unit is super important. I always believed that the firefighter investigators, the police officers, the special agents, they’re always going to do the best job they can. That support though really enhances the work environment and is vitally important to getting investigations completed in a timely manner and having the resources to do so.

ROD AMMON: I appreciate you sharing, and I know people out there appreciate you speaking about your history with Long Beach. I think one of the strengths of what we do here on the podcast is sharing different stories around the country, and a lot of people will say to us, tell us about other departments. Tell us case studies or highlights of different investigations, so appreciate that background. Did you have involvement in the Ghost Ship Fire investigation?

PATRICK WILLS: I did not.

ROD AMMON: Okay, so I wanted to get that out real – right up front, but you’ve got a – sort of a front row seat, and I wanted you to tell us sort of what you’ve learned about what happened and what was the cause, and then we’ll go from there.

PATRICK WILLS: Well, what I know of the Ghost Ship fire really is going to be limited to what I’ve read in the media from Firehouse Magazine through the news broadcasts and the articles that I’ve read in the paper. So in terms of any personal involvement, I don’t have that, and as far as I know, the cause of the fire has still been listed as undetermined. I know for a while there, they had it narrowed down to possibly a refrigerator because there were people living there, but as of today, I don’t know that they have established a cause that they’re willing to share with the public.

ROD AMMON: I appreciate that, and one of the reasons I bring it up right away is because one of the things we try to do at the podcast is make sure that we’re being careful of the things that are going on out there and supporting the investigators and all the folks around them that are dealing with a case that’s obviously still active. So we’re going to sort of talk about what we know and we think we can learn from that. Tell me about what you think related – happened related to code enforcement with that fire.

PATRICK WILLS: Well, from what I know is that there was an occupancy, which was the Ghost Ship building, which was originally intended to be a warehouse that had over the years been converted without the inspection process or the permitting process into a living space. Once that conversion takes place in a normal code environment – in a normal code enforcement environment, that would trigger a change of occupancy, which would then trigger the permitting process, the review process, and the inspection process. As far as I can tell from what I know about the case today is that those processes that are there to safeguard the public all kind of fell by the wayside, so therefore, the building was taken from its original intended occupancy as a warehouse and converted unlawfully into a living space. And unfortunately in December, what was the worst thing that could happen, a fire breaks out, and 36 people ended up dying. So in my opinion, certainly along with my partner, Robert Rowe, who I teach with throughout the United States, the permitting process and the inspection process, which is really there to safeguard the public, those safeguards all fell down, and they were kind of subverted, and therefore, this loss of life occurred, which to me was very preventable.

ROD AMMON: And we’ve spoken about the fact that everyone involved with this, people who enforce code, all kinds of folks that are around this fire, are good people who are trying to do the right thing who are also very often empathetic to people’s living situations, and they’re dealing with budgets. They’re dealing with large growth in cities, so our goal here was to just take a look at the issue, and I know that you wanted to make that clear. So pretty much you feel like, from an objective view, if there had been code enforcement, we could have avoided this loss of life. Is that pretty clear?

PATRICK WILLS: I think that’s very safe to say. The code, whether it be the building code for the build environment or the fire code for the maintenance environment, those are put into place by the lawmakers to safeguard the public, and once the public goes around those provisions, which are often behind the backs of the fire department and the building officials, these problems can pop up. That’s where – and in the housing environment that we have in the United States of America, we have a tremendous shorting of houses.

We have an increase in the homeless population, so the housing premiums become extremely important, and municipal fire departments or county fire departments with budget cuts, with decreased staffing, they have a lot of work on their hands to try to keep up and just maintain their inspection caseload when the reality of those type of fire departments is that the calls for service through the dispatch center, they are really the ones that take the priority, so you see a big shift in staffing to just handle the caseload of just throughout the dispatch center and the firefighters and the fire stations to take on their own calls. The fire prevention duties or the inspection duties sometimes take a backseat due to call volume and overload of call volume, so it’s a very difficult problem to address, but it’s something that, in reality, based on the Ghost Ship Fire or other fires such as the Station Fire, really need to become priorities in fire departments. And this certainly – 10 years after the Station Fire, it happened again in modern times, so now we’re kind of back to how do we tackle this problem?

ROD AMMON: It’s a tough issue, and it’s tough to talk about and we appreciate you sharing your expertise. I mean this also follows up with education that you’ve been providing around the country. You were talking about the Paradise Garden Fire – the Gardens Fire. You want to talk briefly about that?

PATRICK WILLS: Sure. The Paradise Gardens Fire was a major fire that occurred in Long Beach in December of 2006, and essentially it was a very large, occupied apartment house that, at the time of the fire, had multiple fire code violations existing within the building. A large problem within that structure was that multiple fire doors had been removed or were blocked open when the fire began, and as a result, the fire spread from the first floor to the third floor, unfortunately taking the lives of two people on the third floor, which was remote from the area of origin, and they were found deceased in the hallway by the firefighters. So there were a multitude of fire code violations existing at the time of the fire, and incorporating the inspectors, the fire inspectors and the building officials into the fire investigation process really revealed the speed and spread of the fire and how that contributed to the loss of life and also how it would have contributed to the prevention of the loss of life had all of those code requirements been in place at the time the fire broke out. So there was a twofold factor; one was the safety of the public, and then the second one was how the actual safety of the occupants there really was in jeopardy because of the existing violations.

ROD AMMON: And not to mention the safety of the firefighters who have to respond.

PATRICK WILLS: Absolutely. You’re absolutely correct.

ROD AMMON: You were also involved in another investigation. I think it had to do with the Aviles sisters.

PATRICK WILLS: The Aviles sisters – Jasmine, Stephanie, and Jocelyn Aviles – were three little girls who, in December of 2007, went to their aunt’s house in Central Long Beach, and they were going to go there to spend the night with their aunt, a 17-year-old, very responsible girl. The problem of the location where they were going was that location was an illegally converted garage that the owner converted into a living space. Once again, the permitting process, the inspection process was subverted, so therefore, there was no heat. There was substandard electrical. There was no smoke detectors. Because the girls knew that the location had no heat, they brought with them this little small heater, this electric heater, which ended up causing the fire and ended up taking their lives.

So once again, with the lack of proper housing throughout the United States, in Long Beach we discovered this incredible population of people that lived in these very unsafe locations that were illegally converted garages. And we found that in the three years after the fire, there were nearly 600 garages that we had identified in the city of Long Beach, and the city had actually opened code enforcement cases against the owners so you had this huge upswing in our knowledge of these very unsafe locations, and now we had a big enforcement issue on our hands, but that enforcement issue, to the credit of the city of Long Beach, the fire department, the building department, they really took ownership in going after and making the owners comply. I believe that all agencies throughout the United States would want to do the same thing, but they may not have the resources to do so, so in Los Angeles County, there was still a continuous loss of life up through and continuing through probably last year.

I think was the – there was a person killed in a garage fire, illegally converted garage, just recently in the Los Angeles County, South Central Los Angeles area, once again, an illegal conversion. But the density of property is so great in the major metropolitan areas of the United States. Resources are lacking, inspection issues. There’s a housing crisis, and these things are going to continue. What we did in the city of Long Beach was incorporating – in my investigation, incorporating the building code and the fire code into the inspection process – or the investigation process, we could clearly see that the safeguards of the fire code and the building code were not followed, which led to the deaths of these children in this location. And the bottom line for the location was very simple. They should never have been in there to begin with in the first place.

Had the fire broken out after the inspection process took place, the permitting process, then whatever happens, happens because the provisions of the building code and the fire code would have been followed, and accidental fires break out all over the United States, but in this case, because that code process was broken down, they were at risk from the moment they went into the location. It was that simple, and that substandard housing and lack of proper fire protection code requirements, building protection code requirements is just pervasive throughout the United States, especially in the inner cities.

ROD AMMON: So, Pat, after the Aviles Fire, which I know was hard for you, there were some changes in law. Can you tell us about that?

PATRICK WILLS: Yes, sir, and to the credit of the city of Long Beach, in 2010, I did a presentation on the Aviles case, which actually happened to be on the third anniversary of the fire, and what the city of Long Beach did, they took all of the garage – the laws that were related to illegal garages, and they named those laws the Aviles Laws. Essentially, for any property owner who would be tagged or cited for having an illegal garage conversion, if they were to ask what the big deal was, the city of Long Beach could use the name of the Aviles Laws to say the Aviles sisters are the face and the reason this law exists today, the name of these laws exist. It gives them a reference of what can happen when the fire code or the building code is not complied with.

And we went to the state capital in 2011, California state capital, and under Assembly Concurring Resolution 32, the state of California sent a notice out to every municipality in California to encourage them to name their garage laws for illegal garages as the Aviles Laws so that every municipality in the state of California would have that reference of why that law was important so if any property owner ever asked what’s the big deal, it’s the Aviles sisters that got all of this going in 2007, and that’s why it was important. It’s much like Megan’s Law, although Megan’s Law is an actual law with a codified enforcement action. The Aviles Laws just gives the name and an incident to the laws that are existing on the books today. It doesn’t enhance anything. It gives each municipality an incident and a reason why these laws are important, so that’s really how that came about.

ROD AMMON: Appreciate you telling us this story, and I guess it’s another example of some good coming out of tragedy.

PATRICK WILLS: Yes, and although we’ve been lucky with the city of Long Beach, the state of California, my goal is to take it to Washington, D.C. and certainly any municipality in the United States, certainly any fire investigator or any member of IAAI that listens to this podcast could actually take the name of the Aviles Law and apply it to their own jurisdiction whether it be in Newark, New Jersey or in Cody, Wyoming. They have existing laws on the books. They could name those laws the Aviles Laws, and give the same reason to the property owner there of why the enforcement action against them is being done, and it’s because of this incident.

ROD AMMON: With any change, it’s good to have a story.

PATRICK WILLS: Well, this story is – it’s going to be the 10th anniversary this December, and as a result, through my coworkers in Long Beach, my deputy chief, my fire chief, and certainly all of the city government, there has been a lot of changes made and a lot more lives saved as a result of that incident. As tragic as it is, it really brought it to the forefront, and to the city of Long Beach’s credit, they went after property owners with these illegal garages, and they still do it to this day. So we’ve prevented a larger loss of life as a result of that tragedy.

ROD AMMON: Hearing these stories is brutal, and I think as fire investigators and as a firefighter or firefighter – fire service leadership, law enforcement, all these folks, I can’t imagine how tough it is to go to these fires and to investigate them and with all of that motivation, it still seems like it’s incredibly difficult to create change. So our goal is how do we bring light and learn from your experience and the experience of others? Tell us what you think the right way to make things happen – what’s the right way to make things happen? We’re talking to fire investigators, and a lot of people around the fire investigation industry, and some of those folks are handling code. I mean some of them are doing inspections. They’re doing double duty. Can you tell us what you think is the right way to create a change to reduce the number of these fires?

PATRICK WILLS: Well, it probably would be a twofold process. One, the fire chiefs and the building officials have to prioritize the inspection process. Now, for the fire departments, that can be very difficult running a large call volume of medical calls, structure fires, and I’m lucky enough to say that in the 38 years I was on the fire department, I also spent some time in the early ‘70s as a fire explorer in Orange County, California. I was there when the book, “America Burning” hit the table. I saw it firsthand. That fire problem does not exist today, but the fire prevention section of “America Burning” needs to be enhanced. They – we need to prioritize the fire inspectors’ duties and the building inspectors’ duties. They need to be there and doing their inspections on a daily basis with the proper enforcement action. The fire investigators, when they have any fire that involves a structure where someone is hurt or killed, needs to incorporate the fire prevention inspectors and building inspectors into their investigation.

If you simply go back to NFPA 921 chapter 21, analyzing the incident for cause and responsibility, it points out in both sections – there’s two sections within there – and it points out the need to incorporate the fire code investigation and the building code investigation. Bring those inspectors into your investigation, and if you find that a violation of the building code or the fire code had occurred, you must write that up in your report, and you must ask for action by your officials because that’s the way we’re going to be able to reduce the number of deaths in the United States. They’ve been reduced 50% since I was in the fire service starting in 1971, maybe even up to 60%, but once again, in 2000, we had the Station Fire where 100 people died. In 2016, 36 people died in a warehouse in Oakland, California. That’s a very amazing – those are two amazing facts that, modern times, this happened in.

The city of Long Beach, for me the Aviles sisters was my Ghost Ship or the Ghost Ship of our fire department. We don’t want to repeat that, so for the fire inspectors, I say as soon as you go to an investigation that has a death or a serious injury, get your inspectors involved. If they don’t find a violation, that’s great, but if there is a violation, then find out how that violation could have been taken care of in advance, and if there’s an enforcement action that needs to be done, submit it for enforcement action. Submit it for review by a legal authority whether it be your city prosecutor, county council, or your district attorney. That’s the only way we’re going to get these issues solved.

ROD AMMON: I’ve heard you make another point, and that was almost more proactive than calling somebody in after an investigation. You were talking about – I think the discussion was what can investigators do? What can other law enforcement do? What can task forces do in areas where these issues are, where they’re happening? Can you speak to that a bit? And I think it had to do with what do I do if I see something?

PATRICK WILLS: Sure. Public education will always enhance how we find these locations. Now, there’s a double-edged sword with this. The old adage by Homeland Security, you see something, say something, well, if you have that family living in that illegally converted garage, now what do you do? What do you do with that family? This is a very unique double-edged sword, which each municipality has to cover on their own, but the bottom line is we also have to hold property owners responsible for not following the proper procedures. Providing unsafe housing just cannot exist. It does, but if we as firefighters, police officers, or citizens see something that looks to be illegal, somebody needs to say something, and it needs to go out and be investigated.

The critical part comes when you see something and now you have, like I say, this family that is living in this garage who has no money or they have – they don’t have the funding to go and get something that maybe it’s going to be an apartment that was built with the code compliance in mind. Now what do you do with them? The city of Long Beach came up with a pretty novel concept, is that if the property owner was renting to someone other than a relative, they would be responsible for relocating those people at their own expense. Now, that’s a pretty good concept as long as that property owner has the money to do so, and that municipality is willing to enforce it, but I think when you see something that is unsafe, call it out. Don’t let it go.

ROD AMMON: I’ve heard you say that clearly, and I thought it was worth repeating. You know, I’m hoping our conversation today has sparked some people to change the way they look at some of these things and deal with some of these difficult issues, and I think – I just keep thinking how difficult it is for people to say something when they’re thinking about this is where somebody lives or this is where somebody lives because it’s the last couple of places in a major city where they might be able to afford to stay. But ultimately, as you’ve told us, we may be putting them in a place that could cost them their lives by allowing them to stay there. So any other thoughts that you have before we wrap up for today?

PATRICK WILLS: Well, I think what you just said kind of rings – this is the way I look at it is everybody wants to provide that – a city government wants to be able to provide for all of their people to live in these – in locations where they have a roof over their head, and sometimes – sometimes – the process or the enforcement action gets broken down, and in reality, the risk to the public is much greater than a reason for letting people stay in these locations. As I’ve said in my presentations along with my partner, Robert Rowe, who was a code expert, what’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if somebody stays there? A fire breaks out and kills 36 people.

Well, that’s exactly what happened, so when we stay on top of this problem, I think that it can only make it better for the citizens that we serve. How’s that?

ROD AMMON: I think that’s pretty good, and it’s a nice way to wrap up, and we’re very grateful for your time on the podcast here at CFITrainer.Net. Again, that’s Pat Wills, and he’s with us today to help us out, appreciate your time.

PATRICK WILLS: Thank you very much, sir, and look forward to talking to you soon.

ROD AMMON: Okay, and that wraps up our podcast for CFITrainer. I want to say thank you again to Captain Pat Wills, retired Captain Pat Wills, who gave us his expertise and shared his time with us today. Also, around the IAAI, it’s good for you to know that you can still go over to firearson.com – www.firearson.com. Take a look at the website there for the International Association of Arson Investigators, and you can find out about training that’s going on and things that would affect you whether you’re a member or not. And of course we hope that all of you will come and take another module with us here at CFITrainer.Net.

We can tell that hundreds of you – I think 3, 4, 500 of you have already completed the first module of the motor vehicles class, and I should – I say that – well, let me give you a little bit of background. There’s two modules that are being done, one that is up, which is Motor Vehicles 1, and that talks about specific systems inside of a motor vehicle, and then there’s Motor Vehicles 2, which is the second module, and that is going to be coming out I guess around May 15. Those two modules are going to be a prerequisite for a course that’s being developed for the International Association of Arson Investigators to be delivered around the country related to motor vehicle investigation. And when that actually gets cut loose, we’ll let you all know via the Internet, via this podcast, and probably – well, I guess the Internet in general, but from the website, from email, and from this podcast. For all of us again at the International Association of Arson Investigators, from CFITrainer.Net, thanks for your time. Be well. I’m Rod Ammon.

Other Episodes

2017

Fast Podcast about ITC! - March '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to David Bridges about what to expect at ITC and the training you won’t want to miss.
CFITrainer Podcast- A profile with an IAAI-CFI® - February '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. Join us this month for our podcast as we interview IAAI member and CFI, Jeff Spaulding from Middletown, Ohio. Jeff talks about his work in both the public and private sector and then he shares an interesting story about how a pacemaker is helping in an investigation.

2016

An interview with Dr. James Quintiere - December '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In a discussion with Dr. James Quintiere, we learn about some of his work in fire sciences, a bit about his research, his opinions related to the World Trade Center investigation and what he thinks is important to fire investigation as a scholarly leader in our field.
Fire Investigation After the Flood Podcast - November '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Dan Hebert, an IAAI, CFI about "How Floods affect Fire Investigation."
September 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk about the recent changes in the FAA's regulations for commercial and public sector use of UAS or "Drones".
August 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Jessica Gotthold about the Seaside Heights fire in NJ from 2013
July 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Fire Marshall, Ken Helms of the Enid, OK. Fire Department about his team winning the Fire Investigator of the Year award.
March 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's fire investigation podcast from the IAAI's CFITrainer.Net focuses on the Youth Firesetting Information Repository and Evaluation System, which is called YFIRES for short.
February 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's fire investigation podcast from the IAAI's CFITrainer.Net focuses on what you need to do to ensure the integrity of samples sent to the lab. A conversation with Laurel Mason of Analytical Forensic Associates.

2015

September 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. Our podcast related to the legalization of recreational marijuana and its effect on fire investigation was one of the most popular podcasts ever on CFITrainer.Net. This month’s podcast is a follow up with one of our listeners from California who is an investigator doing training on this very topic.
August 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast is about NFIRS where we interview the Executive Director of The National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation, Jim Narva.
July 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this special edition of podcast we’re going to meet the newest IAAI Investigator of the Year, Andrea Buchanan.
May 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Jason McPherson from MSD Engineering to talk about some of these new technology tools.
April 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Dave Perry, a lawyer in Colorado discussing what fire chiefs, fire investigators, and the legal system are seeing in a state with legalized cannabis in regard to fire cause involving marijuana.
February 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - Feb '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Mike Schlatman and Steve Carman who are both successful fire investigators and now business owners who have transitioned from the public to the private sector.

2014

December 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast interviews Steve Avato from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explaining the process of elimination and how it is a critical part of the scientific method.
June 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast interviews the 2014 Investigator of the Year.
April 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - January '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast takes a look inside the process of revising NFPA 921 and NFPA 1033.

2013

October 2013 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - October '13 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast focuses on the fire research work of Underwriters’ Laboratories, better known as UL.
February 2013 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '13 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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

2012

Mid Year 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - Mid Year '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This 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 - September '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - August '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - April '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - March '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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.

2011

December 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - October '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with Deborah Nietch, the new Executive Director of IAAI.
July 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with Tom Fee discussing details of investigating wildland fires.
June 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features a lot of exciting things that are happening at CFITrainer.Net
May 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 podcast discusses the upcoming IAAI Annual Training Conference and National Arson Awareness Week.
April 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - March '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - February '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features an update on fire grants and an interview with Steve Austin
January 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - January '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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.

2010

December 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - November '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - October '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - September '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - August '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - July '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - June '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - May '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - April '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - March '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - February '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - January '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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.

2009

December 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - November '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - October '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast is devoted to Fire Prevention Week.
September 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - August '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - July '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - June '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features live reports from the 2009 IAAI Annual Training Conference held in May.
May 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This podcast is dedicated to National Arson Awareness Week.
April 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - March '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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 - January '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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.

2008

December 2008 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '08 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. 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.
The greatest need in Fire Investigation in training relates to?

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The greatest need in Fire Investigation in training relates to?