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Vytenis Babrauskas, Ph.D

Abstract

Arc mapping was first introduced in the 2001 edition of NFPA 921 and was subsequently expanded so that in the recent editions it constitutes one of the four main methods for determining the origin of a fire. Careful consideration of engineering principles and large-scale experimental studies on the subject indicates that the relevance and prominence of arc mapping as a leading indicator of fire origin is greatly overstated. The technique is valid and applicable only in some very limited scenarios. Yet it has seen very extensive use in recent years by investigators preparing fire reports. In many cases, such attempted use of arc mapping is based on incorrect and invalid hypotheses, which are often implicitly assumed to be true instead of being explicitly stated. The following are myths: (i) An abundance of arc beads at a given locale means that fire originated in that area, while a paucity of arc beads indicates that it did not. (ii) When multiple arcs are present on a circuit, the direction of arcing will necessarily proceed upstream towards the power source. (iii) If an appliance is the victim of a fire, internal arcing will be primarily near the exterior of the unit, while arcing deep inside indicates a fire origin at that place. NFPA is urged to revise NFPA 921 to eliminate arc mapping as one of the four main methods for establishing fire origin, and to subsume it under the more general category of “fire patterns.” In addition, it is important that NFPA 921 reduce the implied general utility of the method and provide more explicit information on its interpretation and its limitations and on the circumstances under which it may be a valid method for assisting in the determination of the fire origin.

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Vytenis Babrauskas, Ph.D.

Abstract

Short circuits to building wiring can happen due to electrical mishaps, or as a result of fire impinging on the wiring. In either case, this may cause arcing.  It is sometimes erroneously assumed that this must produce signs of ‘electrical activity,’ which is a term often used by fire investigators to mean discernable arc marks or arc beads.  While such artifacts may indeed be produced, it is shown that it does not necessarily happen in every case.  Shorting and arcing (whether due to fire or due to an accident) may occur without leaving physical evidence that is discernable as an arc bead.  Ejecta also may, but do not have to be produced.  Some variables have been identified which can influence the size of arc beads, when arc beads are produced.  But stochastic aspects dominate, and no predictive correlations can be expected.  It is also shown that there are no prediction methods available to establish if an arc locale will result in severing or welding together of conductors.

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From Out of the Abyss...

This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky..  It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.

Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted 

In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.

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From: The Desk of Scotty Baker

To: The CCAI Training Committee

Thank You

Over the last several training seminars, even as an old hand, I have learned new information concerning fires and how they do what they do.

 

Get started today

Attention - CCAI's next training seminar is scheduled for March 6-8, 2017 - Attention

The focus will be on Interviewing, Report Writing and Fundamentals

Register now online or Fill out the registration form and email, mail or fax it

             Group-photo-web_10-2016

 

Advanced Explosive Recognition 2013

The Central Valley Arson Investigators association continued the tradition of providing outstanding training at their annual Advanced Explosive Recognition class.  The training was held once again at the Tulare International Agri-Center grounds.  This year’s topic was the history of the American criminal bombings.  Guest speaker Ed Nordskog, LA Sheriff’s Department, lead the class through the history of American bombings, from the earliest bombings in America right up to the most current-day events.

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Practical Approaches for Recouping Good Faith Payments

Larry-Arnold-article

by: Larry Arnold

Faced with growing losses, insurance companies are focusing on fraud management and implementing risk mitigation controls, while at the same time remaining cognizant of their duty of good faith to policyholders.  So what happens when an insurer makes good faith payments on legitimate elements of an insurance claim but subsequently uncovers fraud in other elements of the claim?  Is the insurer entitled to recover all monies paid as part of the claim?  Or only the amount paid in reliance on the insured's misrepresentations?

Previously, there was no clear answer.  It was safe to assume that an insurer could recover monies paid on a claim under the right circumstances – the difficulty occurred when trying to recover payments made prior to the established fraud date.  For example, in California, the insurance code states, “If a representation is false in a material point, whether affirmative or promissory, the injured party is entitled to rescind the contract from the time the representation becomes false.”

Recent trial court rulings in favor of insurance companies, however, are changing the claims landscape.  These rulings will impact the way insurance companies handle genuine claims that are subsequently tainted by fraud, encouraging them to be proactive in recouping good faith payments.

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Water and Burning Cooking Oil

The three pictures below show the effect of putting one cup of water in a pan of one cup of oil on fire. You should always choose to cover the burning pan with a lid or cookie sheet and then turn off the burner. If you put water on the oil fire, the effects will almost always be deadly.

Submitted by Troy Morrison PIO CCAI

oil_water_fire1

 oil_water_fire2 oil_water_fire3

Surviving fires: How common mistakes can lead to devastating fires

Shared by Jamie Novak, St Paul Fire Department

Surviving_firesCOON RAPIDS, Minn. - Fire does not schedule home visits, nor do firefighters arrive by appointment.

In the interest of fire safety, we decided to change that.

During two days of shooting, a crew of firefighters and KARE 11 photographers with a dozen cameras gathered at the most deadly place for fires in Minnesota: home.

Jamie Novak, a St. Paul Fire investigator, helped us locate a three-bedroom rambler in Coon Rapids that was already scheduled for demolition.

Read more and watch the video

Cooking fires: do you know what to do?

Shared by Jamie Novak, St Paul Fire Department

cooking-oil-fireST. PAUL, Minn. - If anyone knew her way around a kitchen, it was Wille Mae Coleman. No one could count the number of times she'd fried chicken for supper. Then last August, alone at the stove in her apartment, the 75-year-old grandmother died doing it.

"I vividly remember getting the phone call," says her son Don Coleman, somberly. "Very difficult, that's my mother." Wille Mae suffered serious burns on 70 percent of her body. He was with his mother at Regions Hospital when she died.

Read more and watch the video

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