Fire Cause and Determination

Investigating a fire or explosion requires a considerable amount of skill, knowledge of science, experience and qualifications.  Too often the local authority having jurisdiction due to no fault of their own lack the experience, qualifications or resources to perform an accurate fire cause and determination of a fire scene.  The result is fraudulent insurance claims being paid to policy holders for a loss in a potentially suspicious fire.  The element of subrogation or product liability can also be often over looked.

The basic methodology used to determine the cause of a fire or explosion by investigators is known as the systematic approach to the scientific method.

The scientific method is the recommended practice and standard endorsed by the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee (NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations). investigations start with systematic steps and procedures, which ultimately determine the manner in which our investigators will move forward to resolve the problem at hand.  Using the scientific method our investigators then formulate and identify your objectives.

The scene evidence is then systematically examined and all the data collected is analyzed.  Through inductive reasoning the empirical data is used to develop a hypothesis or hypotheses.  Using fire patterns, fire spread the ignition sequence, materials first ignited and the point of origin our investigators will make a determination and formulate a hypothesis based upon knowledge, training, experience and expertise.

By applying scientific knowledge the hypothesis is then tested with a principle called deductive reasoning.  Our investigator must ensure the valid hypothesis can stand the test of a careful and serious challenge.

The final hypothesis is based solely on the empirical data that the investigator collected.

Scientific Method