Forensic Engineers and Consultants

Tag Archive: certified fire and explosion investigation

  1. Spontaneous Combustion…Is it hot in here or is it just me???

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    In the old-timey Fire Triangle, you have heat, fuel, and oxygen.  Get these three together in the right quantities, and you get fire.  What if the fuel provides its own heat?  That’s spontaneous combustion, or spontaneous ignition.  NFPA921 defines this as “initiation of combustion of a material by an internal chemical or biological reaction that has produced sufficient heat to ignite the material.” (more…)

  2. Don’t Get Burned With Your Gas Grill!

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    If there is one thing Americans can agree upon, it is the enjoyment that comes from an outdoor barbeque.  Whether a summertime cookout or a fall BBQ to watch a football game, we all love the fun and fellowship that comes from sharing a meal that was prepared outdoors on a grill or smoker.  In fact, 64% of Americans own a grill or smoker.  The great majority of these are LP fueled gas grills with comparatively few natural gas fired grills.  These products can be enjoyed safely when designed, installed, and used in a proper manner.  However, given the grill’s use of flammable fuel gas and high temperatures, the potential exists for things to go wrong and result in burn injuries or uncontained fires that spread to the surroundings. (more…)

  3. Product Design is Critical to Consumer Safety

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    As the holiday season nears, thoughts turn to wonderful home-cooked meals with family.  Few things in life are more pleasurable than a traditional holiday turkey feast. Yet for an unfortunate few, holiday meal time can turn tragic if a turkey frying accident occurs.   While fried turkeys may be tasty, many fire safety experts feel that the reward is not worth the risk.  (more…)

  4. Analysis of Double Fatality Fire Allegedly Caused by a Portable Electric Heater

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    When fires occur, the effect on people’s lives is often devastating. This is especially true with fires that cause the death of a child. Clearly it is important to try and find the causes of such fires so that they can be prevented in the future. In such circumstances, it is especially important to follow a rigorous methodology in investigating the origin and cause of a fire. Investigators following a less than rigorous methodology may reach improper conclusions. Such was the case in a devastating fire investigated by Warren that was improperly alleged to have been caused by a supposedly defective product, a small electric space heater.
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  5. Firefighter Burned Due to Improper Industrial Oven Design and Operation

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    Industrial ovens and furnaces are used in many manufacturing processes.  One use of industrial ovens is for drying and curing coatings on fabrics.

    I investigated a fire loss involving a very large oven, 10 stories high, used for curing coatings on an industrial fabric. A young firefighter was burned in response to this fire, one of a string of many fires that had occurred involving the oven.

    (more…)

  6. Top Ten Photography Tips for Field Investigators

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    Here at Warren, we often rely on photographs provided by our clients to make preliminary assessments of incoming cases.  Since we see quite a few client provided photos, and since we take plenty of photographs ourselves, we’ve developed an eye for what makes a good and useful field investigation photograph.  We’ve also struggled with a few bad ones from time to time.  Good photographs always end up saving time and money.  To that end, here are ten tips to help you take better photographs every time. (more…)

  7. Container Handler Fire

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    Container handlers are mobile, rubber-tired, machines that are used to load and stack standard containers at a variety of shipping terminals.  The machines resemble oversized forklifts but are equipped with shipping container lift spreaders instead of forks.  The machines are often equipped with sophisticated computer systems that inform the operator which container needs to be lifted as well as its destination, whether it is a truck, train, or storage stack. (more…)

  8. Annual Hood Suppression System Inspection

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    Recently, we had the opportunity to observe a semi-annual inspection of a commercial cooking fire suppression system. Before we get too far into this we would like to point out that we talked with one of the company’s owners as well as the technician about our presence there and the questions we would ask the technician. Neither of them had a problem with this request. (more…)

  9. Improperly Used Space Heaters Can Be Dangerous

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    As the temperature outside slides from the cold to the “bitter” cold range on the thermometer, most people tend to turn the heat on inside their home. Some homes, however, do not have whole house heat or sufficient heating capacity and therefore the occupants  may rely on portable space heaters. Portable space heaters, used properly, can be a good choice to warm a small area of a home. Unfortunately, while they can warm your cold and tingling hands and feet, they can also warm nearby materials to the point of ignition. (more…)

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