Fire Investigation – 101

The letters “O & C” actually refer to “Origin & Cause.” The sequence matters because fire investigators must first determine the origin of the fire and then they can investigate the cause. Oftentimes, an origin is determined but the cause is labeled “Undetermined” – – meaning that liability cannot be assigned to a particular party.

Selecting the right fire expert does matter. Academic achievements do not necessarily equate to experience when it comes to fire and explosion investigations. Most investigators can determine the origin of the fire, but the cause is often more complicated. Engineering experts understand the science of fire and explosion and may achieve the Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) qualification to bolster their experience and credentials. This qualification should be expected if your claim or legal case involves a fire or explosion.

Selection of the right expert is not always obvious. Take for example a fire that resulted from water leakage onto an electrical box. The water came from a pipe that may have not been properly plumbed. Perhaps the structure of the building was not within building code compliance. This investigation usually starts with the CFEI conducting the fire O&C to determine origin. In determining the cause, other experts such as plumbing/mechanical and construction/civil engineers may be needed. Cost savings can be achieved by retaining an expert who may have dual expertise, such as a mechanical/CFEI or an electrical/CFEI.

Since the search for the right expert(s) is often complicated, contact CED to speak to our experts to understand proper evidence procedure.  Contact CED here or call us at 800-780-4221.