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ABSTRACT--

CHAPTER 1 - Identifies and defines relevant terminology — heating system, venting system, flue gases, chimney, vent. Types of chimneys -- metal, factory-built, and masonry -- are identified and their construction discussed.  Chimney performance requirements are listed.  The purpose and function of flue lining are detailed.  Flue lining systems are described, and alternatives are identified.

CHAPTER 2 - Chimney Fire is defined and sources and causes are identified.  Fuels and other combustibles — creosote, wood, soot — are identified and discussed.  Thermal characteristics of chimney fires and the evidence that a chimney fire has occurred are presented.  The potential damage to the chimney, to other objects, and to the house are detailed.

CHAPTER 3 - Thermal damage to clay flue lining is described.  Thermal stress theory and concepts are identified, including stress resistance, steady state conditions, transient conditions, and thermal shock.  Also included are discussions of how the shape of the flue influences damage caused by chimney fires.

CHAPTER 4 - A guide to the evaluation of chimney fire damage, emphasizing the importance of searching for and verifying evidence of causes and effects of chimney fires.  Also, evaluation of other possible causes of chimney damage —lightning, thermal expansion, material fatigue, moisture, weathering, freeze/thaw damage, flue gases, condensation, rotational and differential settlement.

CHAPTER 5 - Application of insurance to chimney fire damage, Identification of available homeowners’ policies and their provisions and coverage.  Coverage for damage under the fire peril is detailed.  Procedures and criteria for recognition and evaluation of a valid chimney fire claim are discussed, as are arguments not relevant to proper consideration of insurance coverage.

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Description:

This recall involves AC power cords sold with Microsoft Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 computers before March 15, 2015. Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 devices have a black case with the product name on the back of the device toward the bottom. Surface Pro 3 computers have a silver case with “Windows 8 Pro” on the back of the device under the kickstand. This recall also involves accessory power supply units that include an AC power cord sold separately before March 15, 2015. The recalled power cords do not have a 1/8-inch sleeve on the cord on the end that connects to the power supply.

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Description:

The recall includes three models of the Dirt Devil Total Pet Cyclonic Upright vacuums, model UD70210, UD70210CA and UD70210RM. The model number and manufacture date code are printed on a silver label on the back side of the vacuum. The vacuums are identical with black, gray and clear housing with red and purple trim. “Total Pet” is printed underneath the Dirt Devil logo in the center of the vacuum. Only vacuums with the first three digits of the four digit manufacture date code that begin with B14 through I15 are included in the recall. All recalled vacuums were manufactured between February 2014 and September 2015.

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Description:

This recall involves KUL small, black portable fan heaters.  The KUL logo is printed on the front bottom of the heaters next to the power dial. The fan heater measures about 9 inches long by 5 inches wide by 10.5 inches tall. The fans weigh about two pounds. An adhesive label is on the bottom of the heater with model number “KU39229” and “Date: 0515” in the lower right-hand corner.

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Description:

The recall includes three models of the Dirt Devil Total Pet Cyclonic Upright vacuums, model UD70210, UD70210CA and UD70210RM. The model number and manufacture date code are printed on a silver label on the back side of the vacuum. The vacuums are identical with black, gray and clear housing with red and purple trim. “Total Pet” is printed underneath the Dirt Devil logo in the center of the vacuum. Only vacuums with the first three digits of the four digit manufacture date code that begin with B14 through I15 are included in the recall. All recalled vacuums were manufactured between February 2014 and September 2015.

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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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President's Message

Eric Emmanuele, President CCAI 2015

emmanuele

The Next Paradigm in
Fire Investigations

 

In 1992, the fire investigation community was introduced to NFPA 921.  After 23 years of discussion, pros and cons, the result is a field of fire investigators closely following this guide in determining the cause and origin of a fire. The reason, not that all investigators agree with all aspects of NFPA 921, but because the courts, both State and Federal, have and will continue to accept NFPA 921 as the generally accepted standard in the fire investigations community, if not the “Bible of Forensic Arson Science” (Babick v Berghuis 620 F.3d 571, 574–75 [6th Cir. 2010]).

When will be the next paradigm shift in fire investigations? I believe its happening now.  In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences published their report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. This report was over 300 pages and contained an overview of multiple problems relating to forensic sciences and the law in both criminal and civil cases.  Although this report was not specific to forensic fire investigations, it did address it.  This report called for a movement towards mandatory universal accreditation of all public and private organizations providing fire investigative services for “criminal, civil, regulatory, or administrative proceedings.”

The report specifically states, “Laboratory accreditation and individual certification of forensic science practitioners should be mandatory.”  With this report planting the seed, what is the next step?  In 2013, the Federal Government established a “National Commission on Forensic Science as part of a new initiative to strengthen and enhance the practice of forensic science.”  In November 2014, a Subcommittee prepared and posted, for public comment, a draft recommendation for mandatory universal accreditation of Forensic Science Service Providers.  This recommendation failed to receive the requisite votes, but it is clear that this committee is in favor of individual certification.

Will the Commission consider a fire investigator a “Forensic Science Service Provider?”  They define a Forensic Science Service Provider as a person or entity that (1) applies scientific practices to recognizing, collecting, analyzing or interpreting physical evidence; and (2) issues test results, provides reports, or provides interpretations, conclusions, or opinions through testimony with respect to such evidence.  Based upon their definition, I don’t think any of us will argue that a fire investigator will be included in this initiative.

We can all read the writing on the wall, but what is our next step as fire investigators?  We all know the California Courts, under the Frye standard, don’t require us to be certified to offer an expert opinion as to the origin and cause of a fire, but that could change with one decision of the court.  We are not currently required by the U.S. Department of Justice to be certified to provide fire investigative services for “criminal, civil, regulatory, or administrative proceedings,” but that could change with one recommendation from the National Commission on Forensic Science.

As I see it, we have two options.  We can wait for it to happen, complain when it does, and then play catch up, much as we did as an industry when NFPA 921 was introduced.  OR, we can embrace the change, recognize that the intent is to make us better individually and collectively as an industry, and lead the forensic certification charge.  How do I recommend we accomplish this challenge?  Become a Certified Fire Investigator!

CCAI has one of the most challenging CFI certifications available in the industry and is constantly being reviewed and updated.  Russ Bohse, our CFI Committee Chair and his group have been the busiest group in CCAI this year.  If you have any questions or suggestions for our program, please contact Russ at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

ericemmanuele

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Location

1279 North White Avenue 
Pomona, California 91768 
Phone:  (909) 865-5004
Fax (909) 865-5024 
8:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Monday - Friday

 

 

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