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 this edition of the IAAI’s CFITrainer.Net podcast. A few quick items before we get into the news.
The IAAI is pleased to announce that there is an IAAIEvidenceGuide.com, it's a new web site, its delivering detailed written recommendations, procedures and video demonstrations for how to collect over 50 types of evidence found at fire scenes. The procedures were developed and vetted over a one year period by 5 evidence collection and testing experts. There's over 90 pages of written content and numerous demonstration videos. Many months were put into researching, writing, and refining each procedure. The site also contains collection checklists for the fire scene and an FAQ of more than 40 common evidence collection questions, covering everything from how to collect a potential ignitable liquid floating in a pool of water to whether or not cyanoacrylate fuming hinders subsequent DNA analysis. All content is freely available at no charge as a service to the profession. The procedures are in alignment with the practical skills necessary to earn the IAAI-ECT designation, so this web site is a fantastic resource for professionals working on earning that credential. You can check the site out right now at IAAIEvidenceGuide.com. And, if you are a CFITrainer.Net registered user, you should have gotten an email about the site, so we ask you to do a favor, could you forward that to any colleagues you have that may benefit from using IAAIEvidenceGuide.com. We'd appreciate that.
The 2019 election for IAAI’s Board of Directors is open for voting until Tuesday April 16 at noon Eastern Daylight Time. Voting has been active this year. IAAI Active and Life members are encouraged to vote. Your membership must be current to have voting privileges. You should have received an email with the ballot on February 19th. If you did not or have questions, contact the IAAI Office 800-468-IAAI or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s your last chance, it’s coming up the IAAI’s 2019 International Training Conference & Expo in Jacksonville, Florida, your last chance to register. The conference runs from April 14-19. Don’t miss this opportunity to stay current on a variety of topics by taking dozens of hours of training in one place. View the full schedule of classes and register at iaaiitc.com.
Now let’s get to some news.
On March 15, 2019, a massive fire destroyed the New England Casket Company in East Boston. It was fueled by combustibles in the building, including piles of lumber, bags of sawdust, and chemicals, the fire reached nine alarms and took hours to suppress. News media have reported that the owner of the company stated that the fire began in a furnace that heats the room where the caskets dry and that the area of origin was above the sprinkler system, therefore the sprinklers could not suppress the initial fire. We will keep an eye on this story as the investigation conclusions are reached.
An article from the Coast Mountain News of Canada details how many researchers are trying to use artificial intelligence to predict where wildfires are most likely to start. The research is focusing on how artificial intelligence might be able to figure out which of many data points are correlated and then extrapolate these correlations into a predictive model. This is just another example of how fire data is extremely important in fire protection and has potential to be a data point in ways we could not have anticipated only a few years ago. You can read more about this research using the link on the podcast’s page.
Very often, as we comb through our news sources for articles to feature on this podcast, we come across a fire that is called “undetermined.” The most recent example is a fire at the Bluebird fruit warehouse in Peshastin, Washington on March 3, 2019. The investigation was a joint effort between the Chelan County Department of Fire Prevention and Investigation, ATF, and the Chelan county Sheriff’s Office. Fire investigators from Travelers Insurance also worked the case. Even with all these resources and investigative expertise, investigators could not conclusively determine the fire cause. Even though investigators identified the area of origin and a light as a possible cause, they could not rule out the possibility that the fire was intentionally set, and therefore had to call the fire undetermined in both cause and classification. The concept of undetermined is sometimes misunderstood, so we have an entire module on CFITrainer.Net called “Understanding Undetermined” which takes a deep dive into issues like these and can provide you with guidance on when an undetermined cause and/or undetermined cause classification is appropriate. Take a look at the module we think it will sharpen your grasp on this topic.
If you enjoyed these stories and find the podcast valuable, consider supporting CFITrainer.Net with a donation. CFITrainer.Net is supported by grants, by the IAAI funds, and by donations from listeners like you. IAAI has applied for a USFA Fire Protection and Safety grant in this most recent cycle, however applications do not guarantee selection of a grant recipient. Your donations help keep this podcast on the air, modules being developed and CFITrainer alive. We want to get you the latest in fire investigation and good training and we want to keep it going for years to come. Use that red “Donate Today” button on the page to make your donation. 100% of what you give goes directly to CFITrainer.Net’s operating costs. We thank you for your support.
Thanks for joining us today on this podcast. Stay safe and we’ll see you next time on CFITrainer.Net.
For the IAAI and CFITrainer.Net, I’m Rod Ammon.
IAAI Board of Directors 2019 Election
IAAI 2019 International Training Conference & Expo
Fisher, Jenna. 9-Alarm fire finally out at East Boston casket factory. Patch.com. 15 March 2019.
Demolition begins after East Boston fire leaves family-owned casket company 'completely gutted.' CBS Boston. 16 March 2019.
Weber, Bob. Researchers look to artificial intelligence programs to predict wildfires. The Canadian Press via Coast Mountain News. 17 March 2019.
Lamb, Kyle. Bluebird fire investigation begins demolition amid 'undetermined' cause. Newsradio 560KPQ. 13 March 2019.
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 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 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.