Fire Fatality Investigations – Staying Focused (Part 1)

Fire Fatality Investigations – Staying Focused (Part 1)

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s “United States Fire Loss Report for 2011”, U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated 1,389,500 fires which resulted in 3,005 civilian deaths.   That equates to one civilian death every 3 1/2 hours.  Investigation of fire and explosion related deaths require careful planning, specialized training, skill and years of experience. 

Investigators assigned to a fatality fires may at times feel a bit overwhelmed as there are a number of outside influences that can interfere with the investigation.  Emotions are running high as everyone wants immediate answers as to how such a tragedy could have possibly happened.  Especially when children are involved.

As an investigator, it is extremely important to keep a “cool head” and establish control of the fire scene.  And for those who are thinking, “I already know how to conduct a fatality fire investigation, what is this guy going to tell me that I don’t already know?” maybe it’s time for a refresher.   Just writing this article made me “rethink” a few things as it pertains to fatality fire investigations.

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