Fire investigations UK

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Author: chris

Another Anniversary

Fire Investigations (UK) LLP (FI-UK and FI Global) have just completed their third successful trading year. Our client base continues to grow as insurers, loss adjusters and lawyers recognise our enthusiastic, refreshing approach to providing unbiased, professional expertise in respect of their fire claims. These include domestic and commercial properties, vehicle and marine losses and product liability claims.

Two firefighters dead and a flawed system laid bare

“The cause of the fire was most probably due to the ignition source being the production of a spark or sparks from unprotected welding activities and falling among adjacent combustible materials that had been dumped within the yard,” concluded a June 2009 report by Dr Peter Mansi, then manager of the fire investigation group of the London Fire Brigade.

Mansi was asked to investigate the fire by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), which ran a parallel and to some extent overlapping investigation with the Garda. Their inquiries led to unprecedented Garda raids on Wicklow County Council offices and, extraordinarily, the formal arrest and questioning under caution of senior members of the local authority’s administrative staff, including county manager Eddie Sheehy, and senior assistant chief fire officers Joanne O’Connor and Tadgh O’Shea, and former chief fire officer Jim Dunphy.

Read the full story Link


First Winner of the Fire Investigations UK Development Award 2013

The first winner of the Fire Investigations UK Development Award received her prize for the essay competition, improvements in Fire Investigation. The award winner is 19-year-old Victoria Brand of Bridgend College of Further Education.

Victoria was studying for the Level 3 BTEC Award in Forensic Science when FI-UK’s Mike Flanagan treated her and her fellow students to a presentation on fire investigation. It was Mike who initiated the award on behalf of FI-UK (LLP) challenging students to reflect on what they had learned and to explain how they thought fire investigation could be improved. Victoria’s entry was the winning submission according to Mike, for “…it’s engaging and interesting style and content.”

Victoria’s award is the first in the UK for FI-UK and it is hoped to repeat the success of the award next year. FI-UK Partner, Peter Mansi said “This type of award is designed to encourage and attract young people to pursue a career in fire investigation and allied forensic disciplines, based on knowledge and understanding, and not by the glamorous images portrayed by the TV. Victoria is a worthy winner of our first award of this kind.”

Victoria received £50 worth of book tokens to support her continued studies in fire scene investigation


Fire Investigations UK comment on intelligence led forensic intelligence

Intelligence led policing with SELFIA
SLTN Analytics is specialized in building unified search solutions for forensic investigations. SLTN is based in the Netherlands and has designed and implemented search platforms to enable intelligence led policing for national, European, and international organisations. The leading application of SLTN Analytics is SELFIA. ( SLTN’s EntityLed Forensic Intelligence Application).

“This Application really has the wow factor and provides amazing insights by correlating entities that are hidden in traditional systems. This application can answer the questions and visualise what a CIS needs to know.” Mr Robert Milne, the former Head of Forensic Intelligence, New Scotland Yard, in the London Metropolitan Police Intelligence Bureau and author of the book: Forensic analytics.


Fire Investigations UK gets Forensic Science Society approval

We are pleased to report that our course Electricity for Fire Investigationshas been approved by the Forensic Science Society.  The two day course is the first and only course dedicated to electrical investigation to be approved by the FSSoc.

The approval period will commence on 19th April 2013 and conclude on 18th April 2014.

We are now permitted to use the Forensic Science Society’s Logo on this course for marketing purposes.

Contact for course content and pricing details.


New sponsorship for fire investigation partnership

BRE Global and Fire Investigations UK (FI UK) have become the lead sponsors of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjustors (CILA) ‘Business Interruption’ Special Interest Group.

Businesses lose millions of pounds annually because of interruption to trading caused by fire. The Business Interruption Special Interest Group is one of 11 created by CILA to provide access for their members to those who have expertise in one of a number of special claims areas. Investigators from BRE Global and FI UK provide independent, impartial and technically robust services to CILA members in investigating fires on behalf of insurers and policyholders.

The fire investigation partnership has a team of very well qualified fire investigators to help establish the origin and cause of a fire and the reason for fire development which, as appropriate, can be supported by, reconstructions, fire modelling, fire testing and expert witnesses.

As well as fire investigations, the BRE Group (incorporating BRE Global) can draw on expertise developed from working with the built environment for over 90 years to help with a number of different areas including construction and building investigations.

For more details about the sponsorship please contact Helen Ball:

The BRE Global FI UK partnership provides a 24/7 response to incidents with investigators able to conduct a full and thorough investigation into any fire involving buildings, infrastructure, vehicles or vessels in order to assist with claims.

The majority of CILA members are employed by Loss Adjusting companies. Chartered Loss Adjusters are independent claims specialists who operate under a Royal Charter to investigate, negotiate and agree on the conclusion of insurance and other claims on behalf of insurers and policyholders.

Fire Investigations (UK) support the UK Association of Fire Investigators

Fire Investigations (UK) are helping support the newly branded UK Association of Fire Investigators  (previously the IAAI-UK). They are sponsoring the UK-AFI product recall web page which gets thousands of hits per month from all over the world.

The main objectives of the UK-AFI are: The preservation of life and property and prevention of crime for the public benefit, in particular by:
  1. Developing and maintaining good practice in the investigation of fire and arson by ensuring the highest professional standards of competence;
  2. Developing technical knowledge in fire and arson investigation techniques and procedures and making that knowledge available to professionals, service providers and the public.


Fire Investigations-UK Management systems tested and approved

Fire Investigations(UK) LLP is pleased to announce that it is now certified by BSI and meets the ISO 9001:2008 standard.  This means that the organisation takes a common-sense and disciplined approach to its services and their delivery. It ensures that we have clear business objectives and a quality management system in place that delivers those objectives reliably and efficiently, day in, day out.

ISO 9001 ensures business and health and safety risks are minimised and saves money through service efficiencies and a ‘right first time’ approach.


An external energy source was the cause for the GALAXY SIII that appeared to have heat-related damage

An external energy source was the cause for the GALAXY SIII that appeared to have heat-related damage

Samsung contracted Fire Investigations UK (FIUK), an independent third-party organization, to determine the exact cause of the damage inflicted on a GALAXY SIII unit, which had allegedly been affected by heat.

The damaged device and additionally provided devices were examined and exposed to a series of tests. The investigation summary states that “The energy source responsible for generating the heat has been determined as external to the device” and “the device was not responsible for the cause of the fire.”

Additionally, the investigation results state, “The only way it was possible to produce damage similar to the damage recorded within the owner’s damaged device was to place the devices or component parts within a domestic microwave.”

The device user in Ireland has posted on “” admitting that he was responsible for the damage.



Honda recalls cars amid fire fears

Honda has recalled nearly one in three of its Swindon-made CR-V sports utility car in Britain because of a fault which could lead to the driver’s door catching fire.

The Japanese manufacturer is contacting 77,000 who bought the car which was made at the Wiltshire plant between 2002-2006. It is part of a global recall involving nearly 500,000 vehicles.

Drivers have been asked to bring the car to a dealer for the repair to the switch after five drivers – one in Britain and four in the United States – said they could smell burning.

The fault has been identified as a faulty seal on the switch, which means that water or liquids could seep into the master switch, controlling all the windows.

Over time, according to the manufacturer, the liquid can cause the switch to overheat, melt and eventually cause a fire.

The fault applies to the second series CR-V. Honda is now on the fourth version of the car, which costs upwards of £22,000, there are about 200,000 on Britain’s roads.



The pop star Duffy fled a fire that destroyed a luxury penthouse flat

The pop star Duffy fled a fire that destroyed a luxury penthouse flat in London last night.

The ‘Smoke Without Fire’ Welsh singer was seen calling for her cat outside the 10-storey block near High Street Kensington.

She found the pet sheltering under a van, said

The site reported that more than 60 firefighters tackled the fire in St Mary Abbot’s Terrace for more than six hours at the rented £12m 6,000 sq ft loft apartment, with its own pool and cinema.

About 20 other residents spent the night at a centre nearby. Duffy, a Grammy-winning 28-year-old whose full name is Aimée Ann Duffy, left before 10 pm.

Nic Myatt, of London Fire and Rescue, said an investigation was continuing into the cause of the fire.

Rassa Borghei, 58. who lives on the fifth floor, told the Evening Standard: “I went to the kitchen window and I saw a lot of smoke. I told my sister and my son, let’s leave.

“I saw Duffy running outside. She was running about all over the place. When the police arrived they calmed her.”

It is believed Duffy was due to leave the penthouse, managed by estate agents Knight Frank and Sotheby’s, in a matter of days.

It was announced in February last year that was taking a break from recording.

Duffy was in a relationship with Welsh rugby player Mike Phillips until May last year and has been in a contract dispute with her former manager Angela Becker.


High Court supports UK distribution network operators following test case

In an industry test case concerning five electrical fires dating back to 2004 and affecting various domestic and commercial properties the Technology and Construction Court of the High Court of Justice has decided in favour of UK Power Networks (as the concerned Distribution Network Operator) that it was not liable to the claimant property owners for the resulting loss and damage.

All five instances involved fires that were traced to cut out fuse assemblies forming the last component of the electrical supply equipment coming into the claimants’ premises for which UK Power Networks was responsible.

In all five cases the Court rejected the claimants’ arguments that the fires could have been prevented by an enhanced regime of routine preventative inspection and maintenance of such cut outs and endorsed that there was in place a good reactive regime to respond to any matters of concern.





Manchester Gas Explosion: Homes Evacuated

Around 100 homes have been evacuated after a fire in a factory complex triggered a gas explosion.
The blaze broke out at the industrial site in the Radcliffe area of Greater Manchester at around 9.45 pm on Thursday.
Around 50 firefighters were called to the scene on Schofield Street as the flames spread across a number of units.
A gas mains pipe in one of the properties then exploded forcing emergency workers to evacuate nearby properties as a precaution, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said.
There are no reports of any injuries and nobody was believed to be inside the building, which is thought to belong to a freight company when the fire broke out.


UK house fire figures could be double official statistics

New research suggests that the amount of UK house fires could be double offical government statistics.
Stone Wool insulation provider Rockwool has found only half of all UK house fires were attended by fire brigades in the last five years.

The rest of the blazes were dealt with by homeowners themselves and their neighbours.

Official statistics only record incidents attended by fire brigades, of which there were 45,000 in 2010-11 according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Rockwool’s findings thus put the true figure at 90,000 house fires a year.

“Fires cause significant damage to buildings across the country and resulted in 268 deaths between 2010 – 2011, so reducing fire risk should be an important consideration for homeowners,” said Paula Bateman, Corporate Affairs Director, Rockwool UK.

If accurate, the research suggests that UK fire protection guidelines and building regulations are based on only a partial picture of the fire risk facing homes.

‘FI UK contracted by Samsung following reports of fire in flagship handset’

Samsung contracted Fire Investigations UK (FIUK), an independent third-party organization, to determine the exact cause of the damage inflicted on a GALAXY SIII unit, which had allegedly been affected by heat.

The damaged device and additionally provided devices were examined and exposed to a series to tests. The investigation summary states that “The energy source responsible for generating the heat has been determined as external to the device” and “the device was not responsible for the cause of the fire.”


FI UK offer a new service to clients, Forensic Laser Scanning

Providing a service to investigative organisations, law enforcement agencies and consulting professionals, Fire Investigations (UK) has a team with many years of experience working worldwide accurately recording scenes to help facilitate speedy conclusions to forensic investigations.

Using state of the art technology, data can be precisely collected in a very speedy manner and a 3D visualisation/animation prepared. This greatly improves understanding by all who are responsible for making decisions following an investigation and helps reduce ambiguity.  A highly experienced and capable team of geomatic engineers and 3D technicians prepare the data working with the client.

This video briefly demonstrates the power of the technology and is a presentation of a test burn carried by FI-UK at BRE’s Burn Hall facility in Watford, UK.

The link, BRE Burn, takes you to the video of the fire testing on which the scanning is based.

Team members get IAAI Evidence Collection Technician qualification

Six members of the FI-UK team join Peter Mansi in achieving the International Association of Arson Investigators Evidence Collection Technician qualification.  Chris Clarke, John Galvin, Mike Flanagan, Chris Lowe, Neil Baugh and Stuart Spence all challenged the comprehensive practical examination at BRE on Friday 22 June 2012, their results were scrutinised by IAAI officials in the USA and they received news late last night that they had all passed.  Prior to the 7 hour practical examination each had to undertake 29 hours of tested online training in subjects such as, Ethics, DNA, Evidence examination, the Scientific Method and Documenting the fire scene.

The Evidence CollectionTechnician Program is designed to verify an applicant’s fundamental knowledge as measured against core job performance requirements of established professional qualifications standards  and standard industry practices related to evidence collection on fire scenes. This measurement is not all inclusive of the incorporated professional standards sited but lays the foundation for measuring the holder’s fundamental ability to perform specific evidence collection tasks related to fire scene investigation at an acceptable level as measured against published acceptable practices.

FI-UK achieve SAFE Contractor accreditation.

FI-UK are pleased to announce that we are now officially a safe contractor. SAFEcontractor is a third party accreditation scheme that assesses our health and safety arrangements. Many major clients recognise the scheme and accept our SAFEcontractor certificate as confirmation of competency.

Brigade smashes safety targets

West Yorkshire has smashed the ambitious district-based targets it set itself for reducing fires and other emergencies.
The number of turnouts in 2011/12 were:

  • Leeds 10,593 (3 per cent better than target)
  • Bradford 7,951 (2.1 per cent btt)
  • Kirklees 4,914 (8.8 per cent btt)
  • Wakefield 4,093 (4.8 per cent btt)
  • Calderdale 2,541 (2 per cent btt)

All districts recorded a fall in arson and there was a general pattern of fewer house fires and fire deaths and injuries. Well over 45,000 free home fire safety checks were carried out.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Craig McIntosh explained that 2011/12 had been the first year that districts had been given risk reduction targets in an attempt to tailor work to local circumstances. This approach was reflected in individual station targets. “Obviously, what may be high risk in Bradford may not be mirrored in Huddersfield or Wetherby so we wanted to focus our activity on what would make a difference locally. I’m glad to say that overall this seems to be working and much more effective working relationships are already being formed on the ground with other agencies such as neighbourhood policing teams and councils. “Achievements across all five districts in reducing risk has had an impact on the service’s headline performance: fewer fires result in fewer casualties and pleasingly 2011/12 saw the lowest number ever of five accidental domestic fire deaths. This is five more than we would like as each represents a tragedy, but we are delivering lower numbers year on year and this demonstrates that our risk reduction work is making the people of West Yorkshire safer.” Mr. McIntosh said that the targets would be refreshed every year to make sure they were still relevant and stretching.