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will a fire investigator help me out by answering a few questions?

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  • will a fire investigator help me out by answering a few questions?

    First I will introduce myself as this is my first post.
    I'm a Fire Technology Student at Schoolcraft College which is in wayne county michigan, I have completed the fire academy and basic emt course and will be graduating next semester. I am currently in a fire and arson investigation class. I am doing a group project on the investigation of residential structure fires for my class. I was hoping A fire investigator on this site would let me quote him in my project. I was thinking that the following questions are good ones but any suggestions would be appreciated.
    1.In your professional opinion what is the most important stage of a fire investigation?
    2.Do you find that the firefighters on your department sufficiently protect possible evidence during the extinguishment of the fire?
    3.What are some key things to keep in mind when dealing with a residential fire as opposed to a commercial fire?
    If you can think of anything else i would be grateful.
    I would greatly appreciate any help you could give me
    Thank you,
    Mike crespi
    Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.......Hippocrates (460 BC - 377 BC)

  • #2
    1. Overhaul

    2. That depends. FD's who have actively trained their fire fighters in reference to fire investigation awareness usually do. Those who receive no training usually don't.

    3. a)Keep in mind that, in the eyes of the court, the home is sacred. b) Keep privacy rights in mind always.
    c) Do not generalize or jump to conclusions. A bankrupt business can have an electrical fire
    d) Learn your business. FIre is a predictable physical and chemical phenomenon. Learn everything you can about it. Everything.


    • #3
      Thank you very much.
      Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.......Hippocrates (460 BC - 377 BC)


      • #4
        1) Train the responders that after EVERY fire there is an investigation, so I guess that takes care of 2 also. The most important part of the investigation takes place BEFORE you get there. Know the legal system. Know NFPA 921. Know the physical/chemical impact of fire on a structure and contents.
        3) There is no code enforcment in a home. Also, every home is a part of someones life. Treat it with respect. Shoveling up someones autobody shop isn't the same as scooping up the kids stuffed animals.
        Last edited by jcasey; 01-24-2005, 03:46 PM.


        • #5

          Send me an email I might be able to send some stuff your way.
          "I am telling the truth, I was driving through the warehouse and the wall jumped in front of my fork lift. I honked the horn and it never listened."


          • #6
            Train your supression crews to do a minimal amount of damage right from the outset. Scene preservation is very important because one never knows when a fire scene is a crime scene. There are a number of little things that fire fighters can be trained to do or not to do, like not standing around the exhuast from any fuel burning device be it a fire truck or a ppv etc. Not fueling up your PPv's gensets etc. in the driveway where FF's will have to walk. Doing the above will put an investigation in the toilet if you suspect that it was arson using an excellerent, you have contaminated the fire scene with other than what was used in the fire. teach your people not to move things unless it absolutly has to be moved. Keep your overhaul to a minimum, this leaves less work for the investigator when we do scene reconstruction. When you do your overhaul get tarps into the scene when possible to cover up areas to keep them as clean as you can, I realize that this most often is not practical but do it when you can. in your overhaul process don't be afraid to ask if its Ok to do some thing your unsure of, its better to ask than scew it up, remember there are no stupid questions, just stupid people, after the fact.


            • #7
              If you still need info contact your local Michigan State Police Fire Investigator. I have worked with them on several fires and they are a great resource forrinformation and will do just about anything to help you. However they are very busy. good luck


              • #8
                Mike, you might also contact Ron Hopkins at East Kentucky University, Ron is one of the foremost leaders in FI.


                • #9
                  More Info

                  When I was EKU I had to complete two senior term paper. The Investigation class was almost the same topic. I got some of my research information from the US Fire Academy research department. They we of great help and used them several times. But Ron can be of great help too.

                  Go to this link for and then to faculty for Ron's email.

                  "I am telling the truth, I was driving through the warehouse and the wall jumped in front of my fork lift. I honked the horn and it never listened."


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