Fire & Explosion Investigations
Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigation Inc. offers expert forensic fire and explosion investigations for all types of structures and vehicles which includes, but is not limited to, residential structures, commercial structures, industrial structures, manufacturing structures, cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, buses, and earth movers.
Ward & Associates employs a systematic approach, following the scientific methodology and the recommend best practices outlined by the National Fire Protection Association on all investigations, rendering an ethical and unbiased expert opinion. Investigators will dig and reconstruct incident scenes to provide clients with the information that is needed to make an informed claims decision.
Through association with other forensic firms, Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigation Inc. is able to supply forensic engineering services quickly and efficiently.
Ward & Associated provides:
National Association of Fire Investigators – Certified Fire & Explosion Investigators (NAFI-CFEI)
National Association of Fire Investigators – Certified Vehicle Fire Investigators (NAFI-CVFI)
International Association of Arson Investigators – Certified Fire Investigators (IAAI-CFI)
International Association of Arson Investigators – Evidence Collection Technicians (IAAI-ECT)
International Association of Arson Investigators – Fire Scene Technicians (IAAI-FIT)
Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigations Inc. provides a neutral party with expertise in the collection, handling, and preservation of evidence. Leaving us in control of any evidence and/or artifact(s)s of interest ensures that these items can be properly maintained and examined from start to finish of any investigation. This service extends to both criminal and civil cases.
Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigation Inc. understands that providing expert fire and explosion analysis as well as scientific support can mean the difference between a successful and failed subrogation. This is why Ward & Associates’ team of investigators and evidence technicians possess the very highest level of expertise and training in accidental fire and explosion causes. The team’s goal is to recognize, identify, and document all issues of potential significance to provide an objective investigation, complete with documentation and solid determination, in order to optimize potential recovery through subrogation.
Whether exploring product defects, faulty workmanship, or third-party liability, Ward & Associates is always mindful that every fire or explosions cause is the result of an action, inaction, or both. When a cause is determined to be the responsibility of another party, investigators will provide the evidence and testimony to support a subrogation action.
Knowing that any fire investigation has the potential for litigation or subrogation, Ward & Associates conducts investigations using scientific methods that will stand up against cross-examination. Fire scene documentation, collection of artifacts and evidence, and evidence preservation are key elements of our extensive examinations.
NOTE: Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigation Inc. does not set out to find subrogation nor do the potential avenues of subrogation influence a final decision. The facts found during an investigation of an incident always speak for themselves.
Training and Consultation
Ward & Associates Forensic Fire Investigations Inc. supplies free in-house training on the following topics to active clients:
- Fire origin and cause investigations for the insurance industry
- Hazardous materials and health and safety considerations for the insurance industry
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 921 & NFPA 1033) guidelines
- Roles of fire investigators in subrogation claims
- Fire and explosion investigations technology
- Public and private sectors working together
- Interviewing during investigations
- Vehicle fire investigations
Because many insurance claims representatives only get to see the after effects and destruction caused by fire, Ward & Associates now offers a unique perspective to claim representatives: live fire training. These trainings walk clients through the behavior of fire and its effects while allowing them to observe pre-ignition conditions in a live burn cell as well as see the stages and progression of fire from ignition to extinguishment. Clients also get the opportunity to observe fire investigators demonstrating the process of a fire origin and cause investigation with the use of the scientific method outlined by the National Fire Protection Association.
All classes are presented in a multi-media format, which makes the educational experience both informative and entertaining. These presentations have been given to fire associations, police associations, special investigative associations, insurance companies, and claim representatives.
Ward & Associates will also act as a consultant for any fire code issues, litigation services, and investigative report analysis.
Product Liability Support
Technology has given us a vast variety and quantity of small electrical appliances. Occasionally one may malfunction, and that product’s failure may cause a fire. However, guesswork or haste in conducting a fire investigation can result in the erroneous blame of a product simply because of its location near the area of origin. Manufacturers and insurance carriers, who in the past would readily pay a claim, are taking a hard line stance and making the plaintiff prove a case before offering a settlement.
Many insurance carriers depend solely on fire agencies to provide a fire report stating the fire’s cause, and use that information as prima facie evidence that an electrical component failed. However, the scenario as stated on a fire report may not be correct. Often, a product is listed as cause without a complete and thorough scene examination, and the elimination of other possible causes.
A full investigation under the guidelines of NFPA 921 and Investigation into the incident by a qualified Pro-Board Certified NFPA 1033 Professional Fire Investigator is required to examine and determine the area of origin and assess all potential ignition and cause factors in that area before a final determination can be made into a product failure.