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Fire Cause Determination

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  1. Fire Cause Determination Fire Causes

  2. Hot Water Heaters • Electric water heaters almost never cause fires. • One of the most common ignition sources of fires involving utility rooms are gas water heaters. • Find the source of gasoline.

  3. Hot Water Heaters (con’t.) • Did they just cut the grass? • Overuse of aerosol products. • Storing combustibles too close. • Children playing with unit.

  4. Electric Heaters • Are used in areas like garage apartments and trailers used by contractors. • If temperature drops low enough they will come on. • Used under sinks.

  5. Electric Heaters (con’t.) • Placed against walls and other combustibles. • A heavy load on a bad cord. • Used with long extension cords. • Drying clothes.

  6. Cigarettes • You may find signs of carelessness. • You will not find the butt that caused the fire. • A smoker may smoke 50/day, but, he will know where everyone went… • “Just ask him!”

  7. Cigarettes (con’t) • If you suspect smoking in bed check underside of the mattress. • bed fires • grass fires • trash fires • couches - chairs

  8. Cigarettes (con’t) • In just 10 minutes smoke will appear. • Fire will begin in approx. 30 minutes but no longer than 4 hours. • It must be insulated. • Temperature inside padded furniture maybe 1400-1600°F.

  9. Cigarettes (con’t) • Annealing of springs used with other signs. • Smoldering fire will be deep seated with heavy charring. • Do not rule it out -- do not overuse.

  10. Exterior & Attic Fires • Lightening 50,000°F (act of god) 200,000 amps • Sweating pipes. • Fireworks • Ridding pest • Wiring

  11. Exterior & Attic Fires (con’t) • Birds, Squirrels, Rats • Children Playing with fire. • Arson • Discarding ashes on porch and in outside trash can (signs of smoldering fire)

  12. Exterior & Attic Fires (con’t) • Thawing pipes • Roofers • Removing paint with heat

  13. Fireplaces • Sparks popping • logs rolling out • combustibles too close • flammable liquids too close or misuse • construction members too close to fire box

  14. Heaters • Modern central heat and air units rarely cause a fire. • If a gas line caused the fire the occupant may mention there has been an odor of gas early in the investigation.

  15. Heaters (con’t) • Space heaters • standing too close…trial by fire • usually self correcting • Boxes stored too close • Drying clothes • Toddler placed item on heater

  16. Heaters (con’t) • Floor Units • Rugs • Boxes • Clothing falling over unit • Hangers found on vents • Debris build up..dust & trash

  17. Stove Fires • “It come on right by itself” • Never mind the knobs, find the pot • The occupant was • not home • sleeping • drunk

  18. Stove Fires (cont) • The occupant was (cont): • drunk and sleeping • on the phone • watching tv • looking at the other fire down the street • just purchased a new cordless phone

  19. Stove Fires (cont) • “The hood light” caused it. • “The gas stove shorted out” • “It Did” “Really”

  20. Bed Fires and Bedrooms • Find the 4 year old • If children in the house question them but do not lead them • Fire will begin on side or under the bed

  21. Bedroom Fires (cont) • A point of origin in the closet is almost always children. • They are trying to hide to play with fire

  22. Other Causes • Electric Blankets have to be folded or rolled up to start a fire • Fans a curtain will over heat a fan • Extension cords • Water bed heaters

  23. Other Causes (cont) • Cigarettes • Incense • Candles (for that special moment)