Forensic Fire Investigation – What Credential(s) are Needed?

In pre-lawsuit forensic fire investigations, an inspection of the loss is typically conducted before demolition or rehabilitation of the property.  The goal of the inspection is to determine the “origin” and the “cause” of the fire.  Evidence collection decisions can be made during the initial fire inspection.  Retained evidence will be marked, preserved and appropriately stored for subsequent examination to support “cause” determination of the fire.  The inspection is also an opportune time to investigate building and fire code compliance at the loss location.

The credential needed to investigate the origin of fire or explosion are Certified Fire Investigator (CFI), Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator (CFEI), or Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator (CVFI).  Experts with these credentials follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 Guide for Fire Investigation.  As the analysis of cause becomes more complicated, mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines are needed to explain the science of why and how the fire happened, as well as contributing factors/liability.

If the fire loss matures into litigation, then all of the pre-suit activities will be scrutinized for accuracy and relevance.  In addition, the credibility of experts could be questioned.  For this reason, it is prudent to assign a fire investigator who is credentialed and has a technical background in engineering.  To find out more about experts within fire and explosion investigation, call CED at 800.780.4221 or contact us here.