Fire investigations UK

MenuX twitter icon facebook icon linkedin icon

Category: Fire investigation

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


‘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.”


Vehicle bursts into flames on driveway in Fairweather Green

The owner of a Mini Cooper which mysteriously burst into flames while parked on the drive of his Bradford home is in talks with the manufacturer as an investigation into the blaze continues.

Firefighters were called to Higher Downs, Fairweather Green, at 3.30 am yesterday after a fire started under the bonnet of the Mini, which had been parked for about five hours.

A West Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said the fire was unusual in that it took so long to start after the engine had been turned off.

He said electrical fires in cars usually began while the engine was still warm.

The spokesman said Fairweather Green crews got to the scene just in time, as the brake cable had severed in the heat and the car was beginning to roll towards the house.

He said: “Had we been a couple of minutes later the flames would have damaged the house.”

A Mini UK spokesman told the Telegraph & Argus it was in contact with the owner, who did not want to be named, as the investigation into the cause of the fire was held.

The spokesman said: “We have already established contact with him. We take all incidents involving our cars very seriously and will continue to liaise with the owner as the investigation gets underway.”

The fire came a week after nearly 30,000 different models of Mini Cooper – the Mini Cooper S and Mini John Cooper Works – were recalled in Britain after makers detected an electrical fault with the water pump which could lead cars to catch fire.

The owner of Mini, German car giant BMW, said the recall concerned 235,000 vehicles worldwide.

Safety checks revealed a problem that can cause the water pump to fail, potentially causing the car to overheat. Manufacturers are investigating one case in Britain where a fire is being linked to the water pump, a spokesman said.

Owners are being issued with a recall notice in the next few weeks.

But a spokesman insisted the vehicles remain safe to drive and there is a “very low incidence” of the fault.

“In more extreme cases, it could create a heat build-up in the wiring and some smouldering,” he said.

“Potentially it could cause a fire.

“We are not aware of any accidents or injuries connected with this. The important thing is that when people receive the letter, they simply go to their dealer and get a new water pump fitted if there is a problem.”


West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service gets connected

West Yorkshire Fire Service (WYFRS) implements new solution to improve the outcomes of fire investigations.

The new solution from Active Solutions Europe ensures information is held securely, identifies trends, helps target repeat arson offenders, tracks documents and, importantly, provides the ability to share services with other organisations such as the Police and other Emergency Services.

Chris Clarke, Lead Fire Investigation Officer at WYFRS commented “Active has developed the first cloud-based solution dedicated solely to dynamically managing information within the UK Fire and Rescue Service, specifically for Fire Investigation purposes. We provide crucial and valuable services to protect communities and this offers a significant step forward to helping deliver a critical function of a modern day fire service.”

Based on Microsoft Dynamics technology the Connect Fire Investigation system provides a single system to manage and report against all the data and activities involved with every investigation whether it is at an individual or aggregated level.  Evidence immediately becomes more robust when used in court as it is stored and tracked electronically and individual cases can be linked seamlessly to identify repeat offenders or areas of risk before a serious incident occurs.

Responses to the local or national press and Freedom of Information enquiries can be completed quickly and with confidence that the information supplied is up to date, accurate and has been tracked to record everyone that has previously had access whether it involves written reports, photographs or building plans.  At the touch of a button Senior Management can view the progress of every investigation and identify bottlenecks that could fatally delay progress.

Steve Ainsworth, CEO at Active said “The demands facing the UK Fire and Rescue service is already at an all time high as greater expectation is placed on reducing risk within in the community whilst continually reducing costs and working more efficiently.  By adapting processes and moving to an online approach every Fire service can immediately improve public safety and yet still reduce operating costs”


First Irish case of death by spontaneous combustion

A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind in Ireland.

West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had returned such a verdict.

Michael Flaherty , 76, died at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane, Galway on 22 December 2010.

An inquest in Galway on Thursday heard how investigators were baffled as to how he had died.

Forensic experts found that a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly-burnt body was found was not the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there was nothing to suggest foul play.

The court heard that Mr Faherty was found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace.

The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which had been totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.

Dr McLoughlin said he had consulted medical textbooks and carried out other research in an attempt to find an explanation.

He said Professor Bernard Knight, in his book on forensic pathology, had written about spontaneous combustion and noted that such reported cases were almost always near an open fireplace or chimney.

“This fire was thoroughly investigated and I’m left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation,” he said