It is only a car or lorry or bike and it is insured!
We can only tackle the causes of vehicle fires, whether they be caused by a collision, carelessness, design, servicing fault or deliberate ignition if we investigate fires correctly. It is not always possible to find the cause but an investigator can rule out some causes and identify the point os origin. By investigating we can improve vehicle design and education and sometimes bring people to justice where a crime has been committed.
FIRE INVESTIGATION = Systematic investigation to attempt to locate the point of origin then we can put forward possible or probable causes.
With fire loses rising there is a need to reduce arson which, especially in motor vehicles, is used to destroy evidence following criminal activities including insurance fraud. We also have to consider whatever percentage arson is in a country, the rest, accidental, must be caused by something, the question is what!! Fire investigation is not and never has been easy, but Park Lodge international is able to add some extra skills to assist.
There are three key points to any successful investigation:
A systematic investigation means carefully recording the scene, making notes and taking photographs. An investigator must never jump to conclusions and their findings must be based on proven facts which are recorded in a robust report with good photographs and drawings that are legally compliant in the country of investigation. The investigator must keep within their skill limits and be prepared to record probable cause and point of origin if that can be proven. It is not always possible to record conclusive findings, but it is now possible to greatly increase the success rate if the three key points are observed. 'My power lies in not what I know but in the questions I ask to seek out the correct answers, sometimes those questions are to myself’. Richard Baker 1988
The first three or four practicals, each syndicate investigates a vehicle which was burnt the day before the course, during investigations delegates are encouraged to question their findings and provide possible causes, points of origin and whether the incident was deliberate or accidental. Excavation and the identity of stencil marks, drop down and the various theories are discussed while the investigations are in progress but also in the review stages. The second day practical involves each syndicate planning and burning a car. This experience focusses the delegates to understand fire spread, ventilation with slow and quick fire development. The planned fire can give the impression or to reenact an accidental fire or to be an example of deliberate ignition. Each syndicate needs to plan, describe and implement the scenario and then witness the fire which for many is the first time of seeing a ‘start to finish’ fire situation which in itself provides knowledge. At all points reviews and questioning takes place in order that each delegate maximises the learning available. It also gives delegates an opportunity to try various fire setting, dispose of some myths in order to give them the objective view capability for fire investigation. The third day will look in more detail into alternative fuelled vehicles, reviewing all types of vehicles including large goods vehicles using liquid hydrogen. It will also cover some detailed case studies, an opportunity for delegates to share an interesting investigation they have undertaken and more detailed practical investigations with evidence locating and recording.