September 23, 2014 by Establishing "Why" Since 1966

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 100,000 residential fires occur in the United States annually which equates to 1 every 5 minutes. The causation of these fires are vast and range from intentional arson to lightning strikes and include the leading cause of fire, cooking equipment. Determining the cause of fire is not always easy and can be deceptive.

 Before the fire investigation specialists arrive at the scene, fire marshals begin their detective work such as asking witnesses, collecting the history of the property, and looking for other clues that may be at the scene. Fire investigation specialists arrive later at the scene to determine the causation of the fire. The first step in discerning the cause of fire is to understand how fires work which dictates the fire pattern. Fire needs fuel, an oxidizing agent (oxygen), heat, and a chemical chain reaction to burn.

These four elements combined are called the fire tetrahedron. If any one of these elements are removed, the fire will not burn. FAEC’s Fire Investigation Specialist use their understanding of fire, chemistry knowledge of accelerants, and evaluation of the scene along with the burn pattern to pinpoint the causation. Examination of what appears to be a clean burn, a rundown burn or a classic “V” pattern burn among others provide strong directional help to determine the particular area of origin. Our engineers and scientists follow the burn pattern and chemical signatures to identify the origination of the fire. Once there they can determine the area of the fire’s ignition. Signs of arson such as: no “V” burn pattern, large amounts of damage where it would not be expected, and a low burning site with an unidentifiable point of origin would raise suspicions.

The experienced fire scientists, engineers, and technical investigators at Forensic Analysis & Engineering collectively have over 100 years of fire investigation experience. Our investigators understand the devastating effects of residential, vehicle, marine and commercial fires and are known to work diligently to complete the investigation timely and thoroughly. FAEC is uniquely situated to be able to quickly respond to the scene before crucial evidence disintegrates and determine the cause of loss. Let us “Establish Why” your fire loss occurred.