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.
Rod Ammon: Welcome to the CFITrainer.Net podcast. Today, we're going to chat with one of the leaders in fire investigation, Dr. James Quintiere. Maybe better known as Dr. Q, Dr. Quintiere earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from NYU in 1970. The year after, he joined the National Bureau of Standards, which we now know as NIST. After 18 years at NIST where he was the chief of the Fire Science and Engineering Division, he left to become a professor at the University of Maryland and was their John L Byron Chair in Fire Protection Engineering for many years. He's now a Professor Emeritus. His research has included compartment fire behavior, fire induced flows and fire growth. He's written three foundational textbooks in the profession, including Principles of Fire Behavior and has been published over 200 times in journals and reports. He's a fellow in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and a past recipient of their Arthur B. Guise medal recognized for his imminent achievements in the advancement in the science and technology of fire protection engineering.
You've seen him on CFITrainer.Net taking you through the classic candle experiments first devised by Michael Faraday in 1848 as a series of lectures to the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Today, he's here to look back and to look forward as we trace the history of fire research and the challenges that lie ahead. Dr. Q, welcome back to the podcast.
Dr. Quintiere: Thank you, Rod.
Rod Ammon: Hey, we're glad to have you back again on the podcast. Last time we talked, I think it was 2016, and we talked about everything from your love of the Mummers Parade to your thoughts on the World Trade Center. We talked a little bit about America Burning, and you were beginning some work on batteries, and you were starting some work also I think on zero gravity. This year, we wanted to have you back on the podcast because we thought we'd focus, with our focus this year on technical topics in the modules that we're doing for the network that it would be a great time to look at where we've come from and where we might be coming. So, let's start with a little history. You've been in this for quite some time, I think 50 years. And when you started in 1971, why don't you tell us a little bit about that job and what it was like as an engineer?
Dr. Quintiere: Well, when I started in 1971, it was at the National Bureau of Standards, which is now NIST. They were forming a central fire program. Eventually it became a unified program among three, and they were hiring people, and the hiring went up to, at one point, 120 research and staff people. So, it was a relatively big group for fire, and most of us knew nothing about fire. I would suspect almost everybody knew nothing about fire. At the same time, there was a National Science Foundation research effort going on that came from America Burning, and they were spending $2 million a year then on research grants to universities and other research laboratories. And they would handle about 50 grants a year.
Rod Ammon: Wow.
Dr. Quintiere: So, that was a relatively big program. It's low dollars now, but it was big stuff then. The budget of the fire program was only about $3 million, so you can see that academia and science laboratories played a big, big role. So, I would say that all of us, including academia learned over the first half of the decade in the 70s.
Rod Ammon: I really appreciate you putting that in context because that's pretty amazing, $2 million going into the research and then $3 million going in the fire program. When you say "into the fire program" what do you mean specifically?
Dr. Quintiere: That was the budget of the fire program at NIST, which grew in 1975 to about 120 people. John Lyons was the head of that program. John came from Monsanto, and John later rose to become head of the National Bureau of Standards.
Rod Ammon: And you-
Dr. Quintiere: Unfortunately, he was the first political loss because the Clinton administration wanted to replace him, and that was the first time a director had ever been under a political change.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, well the politics always have a way of weaving their way in, huh?
Dr. Quintiere: Yes. But John Lyons laid the groundwork because he even wrote a book published by the, I think, Smithsonian, on fire. So, John was learning too with all of us. So, there was no kind of stigma if you said you didn't know anything about fire. We were all in the same boat and learning as much as we could.
Rod Ammon: So, what were some of the questions being investigated?
Dr. Quintiere: The biggest problem at that time was that fires were appearing to kill more people, and it looked as if there was 8,000 deaths a year in the US from fire. They were mainly residential or in special occupancies, like nursing homes and things like that. So, that came out of America Burning, so that was the impetus of this. Both democrats and republicans were 100% for the fire program.
Rod Ammon: Interesting.
Dr. Quintiere: The committee that oversaw them had a democrat major or minority. Bollard and the guy from Pennsylvania, they really supported the program, even through the Reagan years where Reagan tried to cut it for eight years. So, during the Reagan years in the 80s, the program was under the ax each year, but the bipartisan congressional people always restored it.
Rod Ammon: It's always been great to see that bipartisan cooperation in a lot of the things that we do with first responders. So ... I'm sorry.
Dr. Quintiere: Fire has always had that. But what also fire deals with regulation ultimately, so if you do advanced safety, you may change your regulation, and if you change your regulation, you'd know that the climate is such that people don't want changes in regulations or new ones. The thing that people really don't realize is that if you change the regulations for fire and it was scientifically accepted all around the world, then you would have universal standards, and companies would not have to pass a test in Germany, and a different one in France, and a different one in DOE, and a different one from NASA. They would always be the same tests. So, industry doesn't realize that or doesn't have enough confidence in regulators to believe that that could ever happen, but that's what should happen.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, that sounds like an idealistic and beautiful thing. I guess idealistic isn't even appropriate, it just sounds like the right thing to have happened. But you can't even get states in a lot of cases to agree.
Dr. Quintiere: Well, when the European Union was formed, what they first set out to do was harmonize everything, and they tried to harmonize the fire regulations, and they did to some extent. But politics entered in, in the end, and they picked the test out of political sense for materials rather than going to a scientific test that could be a better basis for going forward. So, even though the European community recognized that they had to harmonize, for fire they took a step backwards in my opinion.
Rod Ammon: So, with what you were working on, what's changed the most in our understanding of fire behavior and structures over your career? What did you think was true in 1970 that's radically changed today and how did that happen?
Dr. Quintiere: I think what's happened is and what the investigators grab onto is little bits of formulas that allow them to calculate something and more clear explanations of how things burn, and how smoke moves, and how it affects people and things. So, there's a greater scientific grounding, and this is epitomized in the Society of Fire Protection handbook that was actually put together I think around 1984 in the US. The Japanese had one in 1980. It incorporated much of the scientific advances from the 70 to the mid-80s and before because the British and the Japanese were working on fire before the US. So, it accumulated a lot of stuff and it put it together so that people could look at fire as not a mystical thing but having some basis in science. Things were, there were some predictive tools and there were better explanations. All of that is now thrown into 921 by opinions of people around the table. So, if they just use 921 to reference some good solid textbooks, it might be a lot more uniform in the way 921 speaks.
Rod Ammon: Okay. So, what do you think has been the most profound, what have been the most profound advancements in fire research during your career?
Dr. Quintiere: I think just that, that you accumulated engineering knowledge. If you look to any other field in engineering, you will see that that forms the basis of it.
Rod Ammon: Okay.
Dr. Quintiere: Now, somebody else might say computational methods, but all engineering, civil, mechanical, nuclear, electrical, they all have very fancy equations that can't be solved, but they have simpler ones that apply to limited situations. So today now with big computers, people gravitate toward the computational methods based on the fancy equations like-
Rod Ammon: Sorry to interrupt. Go ahead.
Dr. Quintiere: But this, even though it gives some semblance of reality, it doesn't always include all the important features. So, it's much better to have a formula that was specifically designed through experiments and other rationale for one purpose than to have a general device that tries to predict everything because it doesn't do a good job at predicting everything. So, some people might say computational methods. Now, if we advance 100 years from now, maybe that will be true, but it's still not likely because when you solve something on a computer, you break it up into little pieces. And we all know that ultimately there's the molecules, the smallest piece. And there's some phenomenon that occur on a very small scale. In other words, the flame itself is of the order of a millimeter thick. So, if your little piece in the computer is much bigger than a millimeter, you're not even looking at a real flame. You would have to make it 1/100th of a millimeter to resolve what's going on in the flame. So, that's the issue with computers.
Rod Ammon: So as with anything, the data and how it gets puts in and how it gets calculated or whatever the algorithms are-
Dr. Quintiere: It's not just the data, Rod, it's the model itself because there's no question the computer is solving the basic equations, but if some phenomenon is occurring at a level that the computer can't see because the grid work of the computer is too big. Then you're deceiving yourself and what you have to do in the computer model is trick it into saying, "I'm really seeing the flame" when I'm not really seeing the flame.
Rod Ammon: Well, that was where I was leading to, so what your later, what your more recent feelings are about what we're doing in computer modeling.
Dr. Quintiere: Yes, I mean, it's another tool but people have to recognize how it looks. I mean, I was at a meeting last summer in the Canary Islands and usually in the summer, I spend time at technical meetings in nice places like that.
Rod Ammon: Good.
Dr. Quintiere: But it's also very rewarding, and there were two people there looking at turbulent flames, which is what ever fire is. One person was looking at it from a computer point of view where that lady could only solve the problem over a few seconds because she was really at a tiny, tiny pieces in her computer, where another guy was looking at stuff experimentally. And they came to the same conclusion that a turbulent flame is a mixture of unburned stuff, premixed flames, diffusion flames, and other stuff beginning to ignite again. So, it's a very complex beast and for a computer to try to generate that is beyond the state-of-the-art for normal engineering applications.
Rod Ammon: I understand. It seems as though it's gotten better. I mean, I have seen some pretty interesting modeling done related to, for instance, fire flow that followed along with things that I had seen done in a more physical way.
Dr. Quintiere: Yes, the fluid mechanics of fire, a computer does an excellent job with. The fluid mechanics of fire. But when you get to the heart of the fire and how things burn, there are weaknesses.
Rod Ammon: So, do you want to talk about that or would you like to talk about some of the research questions and projects that have most interested you?
Dr. Quintiere: Well to me, what happened in fire is you had this government putting the screws on a program like NIST in the 80s, and then in the late 80s, it kind of reached a different equilibrium from a point of view of 120 people, it went down to 50. And so it stayed like that and it's even less than that now for the fire people. So, the program has atrophied. Anytime you atrophy like that, you can't work on all these issues.
Rod Ammon: Right.
Dr. Quintiere: So, what now I think takes hold is any place they can get funding that's in a practical domain. So, basic research for fire is really almost zeroed out except for NASA money that is applied toward fire in a micro-gravity environment. Now, the National Science Foundation does recognize fire now, but it's a small part of their budget. So, people in academia can do some fire research but where I told you last time there were 50 grants, there might be less than 10 today. And so, this is not an advance, this is going backward. So, what you have is more people applying stuff, more people learning about fire. The amount of universities and community colleges around the world teaching fire has grown enormously. South America, Asia, Europe, really grown enormously. So, we're spreading the knowledge base but we're not really advancing the field in any basic way. So, that's what's lacking.
Rod Ammon: I guess I'm happy to hear that at least the bar is being raised and-
Dr. Quintiere: Yeah, the bar, that is one of the big things that the investigators did because in the 90s, they began to recognize that there were some engineering tools that they could grab onto and they could learn from. So, the investigators have done one of the best jobs in adopting science. Now if you look at regulators or people that have to deal with fire safety through rules and standards, they haven't adopted that at all. The only way you adopt that is by having a central government kind of oversee it.
Rod Ammon: I guess in some ways we're seeing some of that work being done by UL with Dan Madrzykowsi?
Dr. Quintiere: Yes again, but that's a spinoff of the firefighter program and the fact that Steve Edwards and some other people got a few million dollars for basic research out of the grant that is something like, I don't know, $500 million. You know what that grant is.
Rod Ammon: Right, somewhere-
Dr. Quintiere: What is the overall US Fire Administration grant annually to fire departments?
Rod Ammon: I'm not sure. I know there are different areas of it that are specific to either people or research or some of the things that we're doing for fire prevention and safety, but I'm not a guy to go to for numbers.
Dr. Quintiere: Yeah. Yes fortunately, there's stuff like that, but again, it's very applied. It's not looking at fundamentals. And I don't downgrade it, I think what they're doing is fantastic, but I'm just saying that in the 70s, there was a focus on fundamentals and the field grew from that. If you don't have that continuing, you plateau.
Rod Ammon: I get it. Well, we can hope for more of it in the future. I guess I'm-
Dr. Quintiere: Yes. I mean, there has to be advocates, people in fire investigation have to say, "We want more people to study this." Firefighters have to say, "We want more people to study this." So as firefighters start to adopt some scientific principles for fire, they will be enlightened. I mean, there are several books that go to firefighter training schools, I think mine among them that try to translate that information, but it's a hard sell because to understand a lot of this, you have to at least be a bachelor engineer.
Rod Ammon: It does seem like they're transferring some of that knowledge. I do see a lot of training on the ground and some training online where they stop talking about pushing fire, for instance. Where they're starting to look more at firefighter tactics and where the scientific method and those things as you've said before are being followed more and more on a regular basis by fire investigators.
Dr. Quintiere: Well, it's interesting you say tactics because one of the fire programs that began at NBS in the 70s, there were three programs. One was looking at flammable clothing, one was looking at fire in buildings, and the other was looking at fire and the firefighter. So, they were developing better clothing for the fire service, better helmets, and they were looking at tactics. But tactics is a debatable subject and that program got killed.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, I'm sorry to hear that. I do know, I mean, I have seen them doing work as you said on clothing and helmets and shields and that kind of thing, and I have seen some work being done on the tactics. I think most of the time we see it, it's about being safer instead of going into
Dr. Quintiere: Well, it's come back now. Now it's okay to look at that because the firefighters are realizing that, "Hey, we should take a more technical look at this." But in the 70s, that program only lasted about, I'd say from 1970 to 1978.
Rod Ammon: Well, I'm glad it's back So, during-
Dr. Quintiere: Yes. Yes and Dan Madrzykowski and Steve-
Rod Ammon: Kerber.
Dr. Quintiere: ... Kerber take credit for that, I think.
Rod Ammon: Well, I'm glad that they're doing that work as well. So, over the years when you've been working in research, can you think of something that most interested you or something that most surprised you that you'd want to share?
Dr. Quintiere: I mean, some people in research only look at one little issue. And as an aside, that's why NIST wasn't capable of looking at the World Trade Center because they had a bunch of specialists and they couldn't see the forest through the trees. So, not to diminish their expertise but they didn't see the big picture where some people work on a lot of things, and I'm one of those. So, I've worked on a lot of aspects of fire because the totality of the field and the physics of the field appeal to me. I would say one of the things that is still not fully explained is the phenomenon of flashover and I gave a talk on this several years back at one of the IAAI meetings, and even among scientists they can't agree. Pat Kennedy even wrote a paper on this, saying, "Look at all these different definitions", which said that people didn't understand it because there were too many definitions and they were not really totally compatible.
So, I think flashover is an issue. In fact, flashover is an instability and so is the virus.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, I'm hearing you in both places. So, I've heard conversations for years about flashover and I've seen investigators and firefighters say, "It flashed over, it didn't flash over." The definition of flashover is obviously fluid.
Dr. Quintiere: Yeah. If you put thermocouples in the room and watch the thermocouples after the fire, and see where the thermocouples suddenly jumped to a higher level-
Dr. Quintiere: That's the instability, that's the onset of flashover.
Rod Ammon: So, it's not fluid. It has a pretty rock solid definition. I guess the point being that a lot of rooms that investigators go into-
Dr. Quintiere: Yes, there's a jump. Ignition is an instability, there's a jump from nothing to a fire. So, and what puts the brakes on the jump is that the fire runs out of air.
Dr. Quintiere: So it caps itself. That whole process is governed by the heat flow to materials that are burning and the heat loss in the room. If the heat being produced is basically equal to the heat loss, the temperature will go up very slowly, and then when the stuff burns out, it'll decay very slowing. So, there's no flashover in that.
Dr. Quintiere: But if the energy produced in the room is greater than the ability to lose the heat, then that energy stays inside the room and makes the temperature go up, and that's a feedback effect that makes this thing take off.
Rod Ammon: Got it.
Dr. Quintiere: It's exponential.
Rod Ammon: So, what do you think are the most interesting challenges facing us as we move ahead? What should we be looking at?
Dr. Quintiere: The virus because if you go to the virus and you look at the rate at which you are making contact with other individuals being transporting the virus, and you look at the rate at which people are recovering from the virus or dying, if those two rates are the same, everything is in equilibrium. You're infecting people and they're recovering or dying and they're all equal and there's no change. But if you have greater contact than the recovery mode, this thing starts to go exponential. And what puts the brakes on? Well, you run out of population.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, it's-
Dr. Quintiere: It's a very similar phenomenon, it's an instability. If you start making the recovery better, you will have more recovered than are infected and the infections will go down to zero eventually. You can express this with the virus by a R number. If that R number is greater than one, the virus is winning. If R is less than one, then the virus is going away.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, I've seen some-
Dr. Quintiere: We don't even have a simple idea like that for flashover, so the virus is a little simpler than flashover.
Rod Ammon: I wish you'd felt that way today. I know you've done quite a bit of work trying to track what's going on and I've found what you've delivered, and I think a lot of other people have to be very interesting, and-
Dr. Quintiere: It's the nature of my curiosity. I mean, that's it.
Rod Ammon: So, what still excites you about your work in fire?
Dr. Quintiere: Well, I'm working on microgravity, fire in microgravity, and I'm working on batteries right.
Rod Ammon: So, what does fire in microgravity mean to someone who doesn't know, like me?
Dr. Quintiere: Well, very easy, if you see a candle burning on the earth, you know it has a pointy flame. If you were on a space station or a spacecraft where there's no gravity and you could be floating around, the flame on the candle will be a sphere.
Dr. Quintiere: All right? So, that's very, very different. And the flame on the earth actually has motion to it because as this hot stuff goes up, cold stuff comes into the flame. Not in space. Everything moves by diffusion. There's really no discernible motion. It's all diffusion.
Rod Ammon: So, what does that mean to somebody, I'm guessing that certainly relates to people who might be at the space station?
Dr. Quintiere: We have experiments going on right now on the space station with a burner where we emulate real things burning. When we got this contract, people said what we're doing is a joke and wasting money for NASA, and they said that. "You will never get any steady flames on your burner. We all know that the fires will go out in microgravity."
Well, we did 60 experiments and half of them, the flames burned for as long as five minutes until we shut them off. We could show that they were steady flames.
Rod Ammon: Interesting. So, you're saying that's from diffusion? You want to expound on that a little?
Dr. Quintiere: Yes. I mean, diffusion is you walk past some flowers and you smell an odor. That odor came to you in still air by diffusion.
Rod Ammon: Got it. So, what is the goal in this case? If you're getting criticism about ... I'll let you go.
Dr. Quintiere: The goal is if we understand how to predict burning in microgravity, whether it takes 20% oxygen or 40% oxygen to make it happen, we lay a better groundwork for fire safety. In addition, we lay a better groundwork for how to select materials because materials burn according to their properties. So, if we can predict how things burn in microgravity, we have to put in material properties to assess that and those properties can be measured on the earth. Now, if you look at the test standard that NASA uses, and NASA you might say is aerospace, but if you go in the Department of Transportation itself, which is airplanes, buses, rail cars, automotives, each one of those modes has a different test method for materials, including NASA, which is unique to itself. Now, how do they all relate to each other?
Rod Ammon: I'm not sure-
Dr. Quintiere: I'm not going to answer that because they don't. And so, this is what's wrong with fire safety. We're addressing fire safety based on very primitive ideas for what makes a material bad or good.
Rod Ammon: Okay. The way that I keep hearing things is, "Hey, we're making homes out of lighter, cheaper materials. They have much bigger rooms. There's unexpected airflow or chemicals that are very dangerous." It seems like-
Dr. Quintiere: No. No, that ... Look, Frank Lloyd Wright designed a home for poor people way back in his day, and he designed it such that the kitchen was on the ground floor, and you climbed through a hatch into the upper floor where your bedroom was. The whole thing was lined with wood paneling because it looked nice. So, even back them with normal materials, people were not recognizing the nature of fire hazard. Now, what changed in homes and that changed in the 60s, when plastics emerged and you had all these products from, instead of going from wool and cotton, you had nylon, polyester, polypropylene, polyethylene. You had all these different oil-based compounds that were now being used in different ways in the home, and so you saw different fires.
So, when technology changes, the whole groundwork for fire safety changes. This is happening now with the batteries.
Rod Ammon: Well, that was going to be my next question because you had mentioned your work on batteries. Would you like to discuss a little bit about your research?
Dr. Quintiere: Well, my research started with the FAA, and the FAA Technical Center at Atlantic City has done probably the most work on battery safety that any place else has done. Also Los Alamos, that group, they're very theoretical. But FAA has looked at battery safety for aircraft and transporting batteries on aircraft, so they've made some advances. So, I did some work there and the idea was is just like flashover, batteries have this phenomenon called thermal runaway, which means if the battery gets tweaked in a certain way, all hell breaks loose inside the battery and energy starts being released unbelievably fast. So, if you heat up a battery and monitor its temperature, it will do the same thing that fire in a room does. It will go up very, very slowly as you're heating the battery, but it will get to some point where suddenly it jumps and takes off and consumes everything in the battery.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, it's a scary thing and we're-
Dr. Quintiere: And that's called thermal runaway, but it's like a flashover phenomenon. And it stops when you burn up all the stuff in the battery. So, batteries are made of materials that have the same attribute as the ammonium nitrate that blew up in Texas City in 1948 and blew up in Beirut a few months ago. They're exothermic. You heat them, they decompose, and when they decompose, they give off heat.
Rod Ammon: Scary thought, especially considering we're putting them into our cars and that's some of the modules that we're doing for CFITrainer this year.
Dr. Quintiere: But again, Rod, we put gasoline in cars.
Rod Ammon: Excellent point. Hydrogen too, huh?
Dr. Quintiere: Yes. Yeah, so I have a good friend who's been working on hydrogen and you can make technology safe if you recognize it and if the industry that sells those products decides that they want it to be safe, not just marketable.
Rod Ammon: Well, it seems like that's happening more. I guess we'll have to see how things evolve here, and-
Dr. Quintiere: We'll see, but usually industry doesn't regulate themselves.
Rod Ammon: Let's close out on a positive note about the role and value of new research and how it might help the average fire investigator. What do you want to see and what do you see in the future?
I would like to see the fire service get smart. I would like to see the fire service say, "We need to understand this problem more and therefore we need to study this, this, this and that." And I'd like to see the advocation of fire research come from a new fire service that starts to appreciate science, which is sometimes not appreciated in today's times.
Rod Ammon: Well, I think-
Dr. Quintiere: It's a hard sell.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, I think it's always a hard sell and it's always easy to buy equipment and go out and feel like you're getting more under control, and science moves slower than a lot of the guys and gals that are out there doing fire, so. But I do see it transferring and I do see the work that you've done making a difference in some of the things that are being done out there in the fire service. So, I have more positive thoughts. If you had to pick one more positive thoughts, I feel better about it than I hear you addressing it now.
Yeah, we've come a long way. Fire, the knowledge we have about fire is really, really growing and it can be used, but I say there's more to be done and I would look to the fire service as the key in making fire safety better.
Rod Ammon: So, if you could pick one thing for fire investigators, one piece of research that you'd love to be able to do, let's close out on that.
Dr. Quintiere: We spent for the last 50 years looking at the way fire starts in the room rather than once the room is fully involved, how does it affect the structure?
Dr. Quintiere: And that's one of the reasons why the World Trade Center fell down.
Rod Ammon: Okay. So, you'd like to have a more general look at, as you just described , once a fire's engulfed in an actual building. So that's interesting.
Dr. Quintiere: Yes, there's aspects of fire that are pushed under the rug. Structural people don't even care about fire. If you go out to the design at the World Trade Center, they said they designed it so if an airplane hit it, it wouldn't fall down, but they forgot about the fuel on the airplane. So, those guys that were supposed to be so great in structural design totally didn't even consider the fuel burning and lighting the building on fire. I mean, it's like that's the kind of ignorance. You have people making batteries, wanting them to be better and better, knowing that they could runaway, but what they're driven by is they want to make a bigger, and better, and cheaper battery. So, you need to have some people look at this. Now, who has that responsibility? The fire service. Ultimately, it's the fire service because they have to go put out when things ... deal with it when things go wrong.
Rod Ammon: Yeah.
Dr. Quintiere: The investigator is ancillary to that. Sure, they do it too, but it's the fire service. Things go wrong, they have to deal with it.
Rod Ammon: Yeah, it's tough. It's sort of ... it is an interesting thought you bring up that a lot of our research is being done by the exposure of fire to people instead of perhaps ... or to the fire service instead of perhaps in the research that could have been done in advance.
Dr. Quintiere: Well, you mentioned exposure to people, we dropped that subject in the 80s, and that was political too. PTFE, Teflon was at the root of it and ... We can stop there, Rod.
Rod Ammon: Okay. All right.
Dr. Quintiere: Thank you very much, Rod, for this opportunity to ventilate. I'm going to go see if my pies are done. Maybe they're all burned and I'm going to curse you out, so.
Rod Ammon: Well, be careful when you open that door, all right?
Dr. Quintiere: All right.
Rod Ammon: Thanks a lot, Dr. Q. You be well.
Dr. Quintiere: Stay, you stay safe, Rod, and well, stay safe everybody.
Rod Ammon: Thank you, sir.
Dr. Quintiere: Bye bye.
Rod Ammon: Bye bye.
Rod Ammon: Dr. Q is always a fascinating interview. Interesting guy and I love his passion and appreciate his time with us today.
Now, for some news from the IAAI, the IAAI is offering new training live and online. Soon the live online training will be integrated into CFITrainer, and your IAAI membership will offer more benefits through discounts on training and better reporting of the work you have completed. Also news, the IAAI's office location. The office was closed yesterday and today, and the staff is moving, and they're getting everything set up to better serve you down the road.
Speaking of down the road, the new location from what I understand is just down the road.
This podcast and CFITrainer.Net are made possible by funding from a fire prevention and safety grant from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by FEMA and the US Department of Homeland Security. There's also support from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and voluntary online donations from CFITrainer.Net users like you and podcast listeners as well.
Thanks for joining us today on the podcast. Stay safe. We'll see you next time. For the International Association of Arson Investigators and CFITrainer.Net, I'm Rod Ammon.
This program provides a primer on accreditation, certification, and certificates for fire investigation training.
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 takes a closer look at four of the most commonly-reported accidental fire causes according to "NFPA Fact Sheet.
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.
One of the legal proceedings that may require the fire investigator to testify is a deposition. Depositions are often related to civil proceedings, but more and more jurisdictions are using them in criminal cases.
Deposing attorneys employ a variety of tactics to learn about the expert witness giving testimony, to try to unsettle that witness to see how he/she handles such pressure, and to probe for weaknesses to exploit.
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 presents critical safety information for how to interact with 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.
As social media has emerged as a powerful force in interpersonal communications, fire investigators are being confronted with new questions...
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 examines these concepts to help all professionals tasked with determining fire origin and cause better understand fire flow dynamics so they can apply that knowledge to both to fire investigation and to fire attack.
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.
The program provides foundational background on the scope of the youth-set fire problem, the importance of rigorous fire investigation in addressing this problem, and the role of key agencies in the response to a youth-set fire.
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 presents the role natural gas can play in fire ignition, fuel load, and spread; the elements of investigating a fire in a residence where natural gas is present; and the potential role the gas utility or the municipality can play an investigation.
This self-paced program covers fundamental legal aspects of investigating youth-set fires, including 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 recently 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 self-paced program is the second part of a two-part basic introduction to motor vehicle systems. This program describes the function and major components of the transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
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 included in the documents including the use of color photos in NFPA 921 and additional material that supports the expanded required knowledge list in NFPA 1033 Section 1.3.7.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module introduces the postflashover topic, describes ventilation-controlled fire flow, illustrates how the damage left by a postflashover can be significantly different than if that fire was extinguished preflashover.
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 module will untangle the meanings of "undetermined," straighten out how to use the term correctly, talk about how not to use it, and describe how to properly report fires where "undetermined" is the cause or 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.
This module presents the key elements of the initial origin and cause report and methods of clearly presenting findings in a professional manner.