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This recall involves power cords supplied with certain Bosch, Gaggenau, Kenmore Elite and Thermador brand dishwashers that were manufactured from January 2008 through December 2013. Model and serial numbers are located on the top side of the dishwashers’ inner door panels.

See the full details at CPSC


This recall involves Edge, Edge XLT and Wrangler lawn mowers. The red riding lawn mowers have a gray seat with a foam cushion, black arm rests and either black or gray joystick or twin lever steering.  “Country Clipper” and the model name appear in black letters on the front under the seat and on the sides of the lawn mower. Recalled Country Clipper model numbers are as follows. The model number is located on a silver metal plate on the mower’s side rail.


See the full details at CPSC


Many times, a fire investigator will conclude that a device was electrically energized at the time of a fire based on the presence of a bead on a wire.  If an energized device is present in the area of origin, it is likely that it will be considered as a potential cause of a fire.  Some training guides put forth that beads can only be formed from arcing on wires that were electrically energized when they were exposed to a fire or caused a fire. Therefore, the presence or absence of a bead on a wire can have a strong influence on the direction of a fire investigation.  Hence, it is important to have a clear understanding of the various electrical and thermal conditions which can produce beads on electrical wires.

The main objective of this research was to determine, experimentally, if distinguishing characteristics exist between energized and non-energized wires subjected to various types of fire exposures.  The large majority of research published in the literature has not tested energized and non-energized wires under the same conditions.  A total of more than 190 wires were tested under various fire conditions.  Wire types included 12-gauge and 14-gauge solid conductors and 16-gauge and 18-gauge stranded conductors.  The tests were conducted using a bench-scale, premixed flame impingement apparatus, a bench-scale 125 kW/m2 radiant tunnel apparatus, a 2/5-scale flashover compartment, and a full-scale flashover compartment.  The use of various types of exposure conditions ensured that the characteristics on the wires (or lack thereof) were not caused by one specific type of thermal insult.  Wires were tested in both an energized and non-energized state.  Energized wires were tested under “load” and “no load” conditions.  Under load conditions, the energized wires were plugged into a 110-120 volt power source with 9 to 13 amps of current.  Under “no load” conditions, the wires were plugged into the power supply, but no current was flowing in the circuit.

Based on preliminary studies conducted by the authors, it was hypothesized that characteristic “arc-beads” could be formed on non-energized wires as well as energized wires.  Additionally, it was hypothesized that the formation of a bead on a wire was not a function of its “energized state”, but a function of its “thermal state”.  This hypothesis is based on the laws of physics, which states that liquids tend to form spherical structures due to cohesive surface forces.  These hypotheses are in opposition of the current state-of-the-art in the field, which states that beads can only be formed on energized wires.  Another review of all the test samples is still underway; however, these hypotheses are supported by the current research findings and sample analyses results.  No trends or distinguishing visual or microscopic characteristics between energized and non-energized wires have been found in the samples reviewed to-date.  Whether a wire was energized with load, energized without load, or non-energized had no significant effect on the visual or microscopic characteristics of the wire.  Round copper globules with clear lines of demarcation, traditionally defined as “beads”, were produced on both energized and non-energized wires.  Some energized wires that did arc failed to produce round copper globules with clear lines of demarcation, while some non-energized wires that did not arc did produce these characteristic beads.  Under a microscope, beads from some of the energized wires were porous and contained a large quantity of internal void spaces, while other beads contained no void spaces.  This same trend was true for non-energized wires.  A study of selected samples under SEM/EDS also showed no trends in grain structure or chemical compositions.

A detailed metallurgical study of internal grain structures of the beads was also performed.  The inner grain structures of the beads were studied for structure sizes, porosity, and general changes.  None of the physical aspects of the beads studied showed any definitive, distinguishing traits between energized and non-energized wires.  There was one trait, an internal line of demarcation, which was found on forty percent (40%) of the energized beads but only found in one of the non-energized beads.  The internal line of demarcation was marked by the abrupt change of the grain size between the bead and the adjoining wire.  Of the beads that showed this characteristic, half of the samples had larger grain structures on the bead when compared to the wire, and the other half revealed the opposite condition.  Since one of the non-energized beads did have an internal line of demarcation, it is not possible to conclude with 100% certainty that the presence of an internal line of demarcation indicates that a wire was energized at the time of bead formation.  Additionally, since not all of the energized wires exhibited an internal line of demarcation, it is not possible to say that the absence of an internal line of demarcation indicates that a wire was non-energized.

Click here for the  Full Report (This is a large file and may take a moment or two to open)

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.


by Dennis Field, Senior Fire Investigator
Fire Cause Analysis

Fire investigators with suppression experience recall that fear of getting called out of bed to return to a fire that had already been extinguished as the “Rekindle Nightmare!”

As fire investigators, we occasionally forget our roots and grumble about the extent of overhaul by the suppression crews as they “destroyed my fire patterns.”  This is a description of an incident with the need for overhaul and a warning for investigators.



This recall involves Nestlé three and five gallon cold and hot water dispensers. The units are white and silver in color and measure about 38 inches tall by 13 inches wide. Water is dispensed from the large plastic water bottle on the top of the unit through the machine by pushing on the paddles below that are marked with blue for cold water and red for hot water. The Nestlé Waters North America logo is on the front of the units. Only the following model and serial numbers are included in this recall. The model and serial numbers are printed on a white sticker on the back of the units.

Details can be seen at CPSC.


Model Numbers
Serial Numbers
















President's Message

Eric Emmanuele, President CCAI 2015


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 .





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