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.
Welcome to the March 2012 IAAI CFITrainer.Net Podcast. On today’s podcast, we’ll be talking to ATF Special Agent Billy Magalassi out of the Tulsa, OK Field Office about investigating fires in clandestine drug labs. Our news items are NIST’s findings in the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire and IAAI’s Evidence Collection Practicum. Let’s begin with drug lab fires.
Every week, fires occur in residences and other buildings where meth and other clandestine drug labs are operating. This is happening all over the United States, not just in the big cities. Recent fires at drug labs, some including fatalities, have occurred in small towns like Baldwin, New York, with a population of 832, Watertown Township, Michigan, a community of just under 5,000, the Memphis suburb of Horn Lake, Mississippi, and even on State Trust Land near A-1 Mountain in Flagstaff, Arizona. There are many complications that arise when a drug lab is present at the site of a fire investigation, including safety concerns, the effects of drug lab activities and ingredients on fire patterns and growth, the demands on the drug crime investigation, and the increased possibility of misleading or false witness statements to cover drug activities. Let’s welcome ATF Special Agent Billy Magalassi, who is here to break this down for us and provide the crucial information needed to operate safely and properly at drug lab fire scenes. Billy, thanks for being with us.
BILLY MAGALASSI: You’re welcome.
Q: So, what are the first steps when we arrive at a fire scene where a drug lab has been identified?
BILLY MAGALASSI: Well, the first thing we want to do, Rod, is just follow our normal procedure or protocol, and that includes checking in with the command, interviewing our witnesses or occupants, and one thing we need to remember in a clan lab versus a normal fire scene is that the occupant, or the cook, was most likely involved in a felony crime. So, unlike a typical fire scene where you’re kind of going to the unknown, officer safety has to be paramount when we’re dealing with the clan lab situations.
And another thing, it’s highly recommended if you know you’re going into a lab environment or being called in on potential lab fires to get law enforcement on the scene just as soon as possible. Unlike a typical fire scene where we’re going in under exigent circumstances, the Fourth Amendment issue is something that you have to consider in a drug lab fire scene because there may be other areas of the residence or occupancy that need to be searched. You’ll call on other law enforcement entities that aren’t fire investigators. So, kind of some Fourth Amendment criteria to consider there also before entering these scenes; and lastly, I just recommend and suggest that a clandestine drug lab is actually a hazmat scene and is going to require an appropriate response. Just briefly, a clan lab requires a level B minimum assessment team measurement of the atmosphere for the lower explosive limit, O2 measurements, and lastly, the toxic atmosphere testing to include hydrochloric acid, ammonia, phosphine gases and other types of toxic considerations.
And then going along with the hazmat, you have to have your rapid intervention team, decon, medical standby, hazmat, a cleanup contractor, etc. So there’s a lot of things to think about that this is really not typical for a fire scene when you’re dealing with a clandestine lab situation.
Q: Wow, as you went through a couple of those pieces, my next question was about safety concerns and you rattled off about five already, and I’m sitting here thinking, wow, you know, I’m a one-man band, I show up at a fire scene and I think it’s a lab; all those things sound nice, are those resources available?
BILLY MAGALASSI: Yeah, they are. In regards to safety concerns, just remember that the number one hazard is your suspect before you ever walk into the scene because you’ve potentially got somebody - well, somebody that’s involved in a felony crime. Others include, like I had mentioned, the toxic atmosphere, and when you’re dealing with a fire scene, unlike going into a normal lab that doesn’t involve a fire, you have a lot of unseen and unknown products beneath potentially the collapsed debris and a lot of the products are in an altered or otherwise unrecognizable state. So, you just have to be thinking the whole time of hazmat. One thing that we have found to be very helpful - I’ve done a lot of training - of course, I’m based here in Oklahoma, but I’ve done a lot of training throughout the state because we’re not proud of the fact, but we’re one of the states that lead in particularly the one pot shake and bake meth labs, as soon as the fire’s out and in kind of that post-fire pre-investigation environment, to ventilate these structures as much as possible, and that just helps with reducing that potential toxic atmosphere and providing a safer work environment for the clan lab processing investigators and the origin and cause investigators.
Another thing that a fire investigator has to consider when you’re going into these type of scenes, along the line of the safety concerns is - and I don’t mean this literally, but do you trust the law enforcement elements that you’ve called out? Do you trust that they’ve got all the hazards out before you proceed with your origin and cause examination? One thing that I have found, and I’m not knocking the police because I used to be one before I moved on with ATF and just speaking from experience, one thing I’ve found is a lot of times the PD elements or the police elements will get in, clear out what they can see or what they think they need to prove the manufacturing charge and they leave a lot there, and we begin to find a lot of things that the law enforcement elements wouldn’t have found. So, I just always recommend that the lab response teams stay on scene until you’re completely done.
Another thing, you know, whether you’re a gun toting fire investigator or not, do you really want your cook or your manufacturer to show back up at the scene, which is not at all uncommon, and kind of catch you off guard. So it’s good if you, at minimum, to have a patrol unit or somebody just there with you kind of watching your back if you will. Keep the PD, keep the law enforcement elements there until you’re done just for officer safety reasons.
Q: As always, keeping a team concept going is something that everybody seems to keep striving to have happen. Good thoughts. So, how can the presence of drug lab chemicals and equipment affect fire patterns and the spread? How might this affect what you’re doing as far as an origin and cause person?
BILLY MAGALASSI: Really, I would equate them to basically maybe an incendiary fire where you’ve had ignitable liquids applied as accelerants or to get the fire going. I’d say they’re real common to that as far as the burn patterns and fire spread. This is due to the large amounts of flammable liquid used in the manufacturing process. The most common clandestine lab that we’re seeing across the US currently is the one pot or the shake and bake meth labs. Most states have passed some kind of pseudoephedrine legislation that minimizes the amount of purchases a person can make and what have you. So we’re seeing these little one pot labs pop up, and it’s a very simple recipe, very easy to do and requires very minimal cold tablets or Sudafed if you will. So, one of the probably main ingredients or chemicals used in this, and the one with the biggest volume anyway, would be the solvent, and that we’re finding a lot of camp fuel, Coleman fuel type of fuels and ether, as well as an alcohol-based ignitable liquid present in these labs. So you do have a lot of ignitable liquids present as far as fire spread and burn patterns. It’s going to be not unlike any other fire where you’ve had… when applied, but one unique thing about the meth labs is their ability to be moved or spread from the area of origin during the burning process, and this often occurs when you have a failure of these one pot labs and the cook attempts to get this burning container out of a location, out the back door, out a window. They’re rarely successful in doing this, but the investigator needs to be aware that he may have to look well beyond your well-defined area of origin to fully understand where the event first started.
Q: It sounds like a lot of these are catching fire? What’s the typical cause of some of the fires in these drug labs?
BILLY MAGALASSI: In the new process, this one pot shake and bake method, which we are having a lot of fires, the stage of the process where the fires are occurring is in the cook itself. A lot of these cooks are using 2 liter, 32 ounce, 20 ounce pop bottles. In these containers, they’re using a large amount of solvent.
Q: In a plastic bottle?
BILLY MAGALASSI: A plastic bottle, yeah. That’s what they use because you can see it, you can feel it. It’s easy to do. This process only takes about an hour. The problem is coming in where you’re using a couple of caps, and literally, I’m talking the cap, the bottle cap of water, to initiate the reaction with the sodium hydroxide, one of the chemicals used. Another thing that two caps full of water does is it helps activate one of the catalysts in this process, which is lithium. Well, when lithium reacts with water it reacts very violently and very hot. The lithium will burn through the side of the container. Well, when the lithium burns through the side of the container, now you’ve got ample ambient oxygen and atmospheric oxygen around the outside of the container, so you’ve got certainly your heat source, and you’ve got a minimally pressurized fuel coming in behind this heat source, and usually these pots will generate 10 to 15 pounds of pressure. It’s basically igniting. As soon as the lithium burns through the bottle, you have ignition, and really it’s kind of a torch lock effect. They’re really pretty spectacular to see when they react. That’s the most common method of the one pots failing and where we’re getting a lot of the fires.
But one other process in the one pot that has a very high rate of failure, and we’ve seen a lot of our fatality fires occur, particularly around this area, and we have a lot of fatalities related to these one pot shake and bake labs, this one particular process is the - what we call crack and back, and it’s something that’s not required, but some of these folks, and again, you have to keep in mind, they’re not scientists or rocket scientists, they take this wet, pasty methamphetamine paste, they put it, unfortunately, for them, most of the time in some kind of like Mason jar or Pyrex dish, some kind of glass container, they’ll fill that container with - one of the common things we see is methanol. It comes in the little bottles that you can use to help start your car in the wintertime. When they’re done with mixing this pasty de-methamphetamine up with this methanol or whatever alcohol-based solvent they used, a lot of them have the bright idea of taking a propane or butane torch and using that torch over these glass containers to evaporate the alcohol-based solvent off. And what we’re having is we’re having either failure of the glass because of the immense amount of heat that’s being applied to it or the flammable vapors that’s being evaporated out of the container is just catching fire just because of the open flame. So we have a lot of failures in that process.
Q: So, when you get there there’s, I guess depending on the situation, quite a bit of lab chemicals and synthesized drugs around. How does that affect your evidence collection, your packaging and the preservation of evidence?
BILLY MAGALASSI: From the fire investigator standpoint, it really doesn’t differ from any other scene we’re working. Where the difference kind of comes in is in the process of working with our clan lab crew. That’s where it’s just imperative to keep these folks around because, again, they’re not used to working in post-fire environments, and making sure they stick around because as, again, origin and calls experts, we’re going to be kind of that final defense of finding really the artifacts of the fire that burned, melted pieces of the clan lab itself.
Q: How do work together with different goals? I can imagine some of the law enforcement folks would be really focused on the lab and making sure they’ve got enough evidence to put a guy away. On the other hand, you’ve got a fire investigation going on and you really may need to dig deeper, and you mentioned it earlier on, than just having enough evidence. How do you make that tie? How do you work cooperatively?
BILLY MAGALASSI: I think in most jurisdictions, the police and fire work very well together. I say police in the broad sense, and whether it be the state police, county sheriff’s office, whoever, drug task force. But when you’re doing these clan lab fires and you’re really working hand in hand, it’s really I think a process of kind of planning, knowing what each other’s role is, kind of understanding from the PD’s perspective or the law enforcement’s perspective, the unique set of circumstances you’re dealing with. My report, I strictly stick with the origin and cause of the fire, and I’ve encouraged them to not assume my role. I don’t mention the origin and cause of the fire in the reports, you know, just stick with the clan lab response, what chemicals you found. Try to put the lab together and I’ll put the lab and the fire together, and that’s sometimes where we’ve run into problems. You really have to work together.
One thing that people have to realize too in these clan labs, and unlike any other situation we deal with, is all the evidence as far as the lab material, the chemicals, the drugs, anything that’s found in there that’s clan lab related, it’s all got to be destroyed. It’s not going to be maintained in the evidence locker back at the PD or the fire investigator’s office, it’s all hazardous materials. So, they’re going to have a cleanup contractor come in from the scene once they take their samples of liquids or solids or whatever the law enforcement folks are going to sample for the drug testing, everything else gets destroyed. So, again, it’s incumbent on the fire investigator to make sure and make certain that all that stuff’s been thoroughly photographed and documented before it goes away because it goes away.
Q: And I’m guessing - I’ve heard guys say before, you know, the best time to pass business cards isn’t at the scene. So, you guys are talking about this and planning in advance?
BILLY MAGALASSI: We do because we have so many of them. We’ve had numerous meetings on how to do these better, how to better document. The folks we work with locally here really have a very good understanding and are very appreciative of the work that the local fire investigators do and vice versa. It’s just really unusual. It’s unlike any other crime you work or crime scene - the evidence all disappears because it’s all hazardous materials.
Q: So, we’ve dealt with the evidence and the safety. Now we’ve got witness statements, and I’m imagining witness statements can get a bit creative when you’re dealing with a drug lab. Any advice?
BILLY MAGALASSI: They can. I’d say just based on experiences, most of the time when the fire department rolls up on these fires that involve a methamphetamine lab or any kind of clan lab for that matter, the bad guys are going to be gone. The guy or girl that was cooking, unless they’re incapacitated because their burn injuries are so bad, they’re going to be gone. They’re not going to stick around to talk to the police. So, a real good clue, you know, if you roll up on a house fire, for instance, and all the occupants are gone and the neighbors say, yeah, they went running out of there, jumped in a car and took off, I mean, that’s a pretty good clue that something’s going on that they didn’t want to be there when the law enforcement and the fire department got there.
It is real imperative you handle it like any other drug investigation. I mean, obviously common sense would tell you there’s going to be a lot of people unwilling to talk, they’re going to be really hard to find, but I’ve found that it’s just the quicker you kind of jump on it and start gathering witness statements, interviewing neighbors, identifying who lived there, getting tag numbers, I mean, really start working an investigation from the scene forward, the quicker you’re able to find people, the quicker you’re able to pin them down on their stories, the easier it is to get maybe some just related user or somebody that was just kind of there to start pointing the finger at the cook; hey man, I was there, but I wasn’t cooking. That’s a lot of what we run into. But the longer you wait, the harder it is to find them and the more they get their stories together.
Q: Since we’ve touched on it, what do you think is one of the greatest challenges and what would your recommendation be to folks out there who are dealing with this kind of issue in their area?
BILLY MAGALASSI: The biggest challenge is just that coordinated response and getting your firefighters trained on what to look for. We’ve done really good in training the first responders to be able to identify these lab components. These one pot shake and bake type labs can be placed in a backpack. They’re very transient and very portable. You don’t need a heat source, you don’t need anything. I mean, you don’t need any power. You can do this off a picnic table out at the park, which isn’t uncommon, off the tailgate of a pickup truck. But just training your firefighters and the first responders and we’ve even went so far as to train utility company workers, people that are in folks’ houses to look for these particular components; you know, know when you go in somebody’s house what’s unusual. I mean, seeing a can of Coleman fuel sitting on the coffee table and some sodium hydroxide, which is drain cleaner, those aren’t uncommon things to find in someone’s house, but should they be in the living room or in the bedroom. I mean, just little things like that because that just sounds kind of elementary, but that’s really the things you have to look for. I’d say that coordination, and then with your prosecutors, just help them understand what you’re dealing with, the uniqueness of, you know, this isn’t your typical dope case, they’re really unique cases and sometimes challenging and get kind of a big picture of the evidence. So, it’s just really a coordinated effort with everybody; the community, retailers being able to report buying certain chemicals, things of that nature.
Q: I had the same thing happen with Sudafed the other day. I went out to get some Sudafed for my wife and I had to give them a license and everything else just to get one packet from the pharmacist.
BILLY MAGALASSI: So, that’s certainly helped us, and it helped immensely. It really curbed - I mean, our methamphetamine labs almost went to nothing, but with the new one pot shake and bake method, you just need a box or two of pills, and it’s an easy process. You know, I would venture to say they’re going to see it, if your community’s not seeing it yet, or maybe you’re just not there and you just don’t know what to look for. I mean, it’s going to be a huge problem.
Q: Well, I appreciate you being out there. I know I would expect that most people do. ATF Special Agent Billy Magalassi, thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. We appreciate it.
BILLY MAGALASSI: No problem. Thank you.
Q: Be well.
In other news, last year, NIST released its final report on the fire spread factors in the Charleston, SC Sofa Super Store Fire. The study finds that eight major factors contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, which trapped and killed nine firefighters. These factors include: large open spaces in the building’s design, high fuel loads, an inward rush of air following the breaking of windows, and a lack of sprinklers. The study also includes eleven recommendations for enhancing building, occupant, and firefighter safety nationwide. These recommendations range from uniform code adoption covering new and existing high fuel-load mercantile occupancies, guidelines for ventilation as a suppression practice, and further research into a host of topics from improving fire barriers to how ventilation affects fire spread.
We close with news from the IAAI. The IAAI’s Evidence Collection Technician Practicum will be offered during the 2012 IAAI ATC being held in Dover, Delaware. The Practicum will take place Wednesday, April 25 from 1-5 pm. This Practicum is part of the IAAI-Evidence Collection Technician certification program and involves a hands-on assessment test based on the evidence collection skills outlined in NFPA 1033, ASTM E 1188-05 and ASTM E 1459-92. The Practicum tests an investigator’s ability to collect a variety of types of evidence commonly encountered during the course of a fire scene investigation. Due to the logistical requirements of the testing protocol, the Practicum is limited to 10 applicants per session. Interested applicants must meet all program requirements and have completed the prerequisites prior to the ATC. Participants that successfully complete the skills practicum will be some of the first to achieve the newly developed IAAI-Evidence Collection Technician certification. Pre-registration and application deadline is March 15. See details and registration fees on firearson.com.
That concludes this IAAI CFITrainer.Net podcast. Don’t forget to check out the links on this podcast’s page for more information on all our stories. We’ll see you again next month.
NIST Study on Charleston Furniture Store Fire Calls for National Safety Improvements
IAAI 2012 Annual Training Conference, April 22-27, 2012, Dover, DE
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.