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Andrew T. Tinsley, MS, EI, CFEI
Eastern Kentucky University, USA
Michael Whaley, Criminal Investigator Tennessee Department of Agriculture, USA
David J. Icove, Ph.D., PE, CFEI University of Tennessee - Knoxville, USA

ABSTRACT

The investigation of hay fires has long been a challenge for the fire service.  Fires of this type are notoriously difficult to extinguish and usually require allowing the fire to run out of fuel (or the use of heavy equipment and large volumes of water).  Inherently, this creates a “black hole” for fire investigators as they are often left with little more than witness statements to base their conclusions on.  As a result, many hay fires are attributed to spontaneous combustion for lack of a better explanation.  One of the traditional indicators of spontaneous combustion that fire investigators have relied upon in the past is the formation and/or presence of hay clinkers.  Several reliable sources indicate the formation of hay clinkers is an event which is mutually exclusive to spontaneous combustion.  After a string of suspicious cases in which hay clinkers were discovered, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Criminal Investigation Division conducted a series of field tests.  The results of these field tests indicate that hay clinker production is possible with an external ignition source and should not be utilized as an indicator of fire cause.

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Description

This recall involves Homelite 12 amp electric blower vacuums with model numbers UT42120, UT42120A and UT42121. Model numbers are located on a label on the left side of the red motor housing. The blower vacuums are red and black. “Homelite BlowerVac 2 Speed Powerful 220 MPH” is printed on the side of the motor housing and on the black plastic blower tube.

See full details at CPSC

Description

This recall involves Expert Gardener 12 amp electric blower vacuums with model numbers 20254EG, 20254EGA, 20254EGB, 20254EGBC, 20254EGC and 21254EG. Model numbers are located on a label on the left side of the motor housing. The blower vacuums are green and black. “Expert Gardener” and “Blower Vac 2 Speed Quiet 150 MPH Powerful 220 MPH” are printed on the side of the green motor housing and on the black plastic blower tube.

See full details at CPSC

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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UNDER ADVISEMENT RULING

The Court has had under advisement Plaintiff Barbara A. Sloan’s (“Sloan”) Rule 60 Motion.  Having read and considered the briefing and having heard oral argument, the Court issues the following ruling.

Ruling Document 

Description

This recall involves four types of DD branded single-wick candles: Mason jars in 5- and 12- ounce sizes, decorative jars in 10- and 20-ounce sizes, 13-ounce coffee tins and 13-ounce jars with a holiday theme. The candles were sold in a variety of fragrances and colors.

The 5-ounce Mason jars are 2.25 inches wide by 3.75 inches high. The 12-ounce Mason jars are 3 inches wide by 5 inches high. The jars have gray metal lids. The DD logo and the word Handcrafted are in raised letters on the front of the jars. The candle fragrance and size are printed on a hang tang attached to the mouth of the jars.

The 10-ounce decorative jars are 4 inches wide by 3 inches high. The 20-ounce decorative jars are 5 inches wide by 4 inches high and hold a candle. The jars have gray metal lids with the DD logo in raised letters on the top. The candle fragrance and size are printed on a rectangular label on the front of the jar.

The 13-ounce coffee tins are 3.5 inches wide by 4 inches high and have a silver metal lid. The candle size and fragrance are printed on a label that wraps around the outside of the tin.

The 13-ounce holiday candle jars are 3.75 inches wide by 4 inches high and have silver metal lids with the DD logo in raised letters on the top.  The DD logo inside a floral wreath, the fragrance and size are printed directly onto the front of the jar in silver.

See the full details at CPSC


Fire Investigation 101

OnlineFireScienceDegree.org has just published a collection of their favorite fire investigation sites and the California Conference of Arson Investigators is listed: http://onlinefiresciencedegree.org/fire-investigation/.

This site has loads of information and resources for education in the field of fire investigations.

Wind Driven Fires

Wind blowing into the broken window of a room on fire can turn a "routine room and contents fire" into a floor-to-ceiling firestorm. Historically, this has led to a significant number of firefighter fatalities and injuries, particularly in high-rise buildings where the fire must be fought from the interior of the structure.

Wind-Driven Fire in a Ranch-Style House in Texas, 2009

On April 12, 2009, a fire in a one-story ranch home in Texas claimed the lives of two fire fighters.  Sustained high winds occurred during the incident.  The winds caused a rapid change in the dynamics of the fire after the failure of a large section of glass in the rear of the house.

Wind Driven Fire in Home, Texas, 2009. Aerial view of damage to the structure. Photo credit: Houston Fire Department.

Wind Driven Fire in Home, Texas, 2009. Aerial view of damage to the structure. Photo credit: Houston Fire Department.

NIST performed computer simulations of the fire using the Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS)  and Smokeview, a visualization tool, to provide insight on the fire development and thermal conditions that may have existed in the residence during the fire.

Read more...

NBC News - Trial by Fire

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Spoliation of Evidence: A Fire Scene Dilemma

by Guy E. Burnette, Jr., Esquire

Introduction

The term "spoliation" refers to the loss, destruction or alteration of an object which is evidence (or potential evidence) in a legal proceeding.  It is a concept first recognized by courts in England more than a century ago which has only recently taken on significance in this country.  However, it is an issue of particular importance to the field of fire investigation and will likely become increasingly significant as courts are called to decide the consequences of lost or altered physical evidence in fire litigation cases.

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Recalls

Recall Date: May 22, 2014
Recall Number: 14-190

Cordelia Lighting Recalls Two-Lamp Fluorescent Shop Lights Due to Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Home Depot

Description

This recall involves Commercial Electric brand basic hanging shop lights that use two, 48-inch, two-pin, T8, fluorescent lamps. The recalled shop light is a metal light fixture with four plastic lamp sockets and a white finish. It is 48 inches long, 4.25 inches wide and 2.5 inches high and has two 10.5-inch long chains for hanging. The lamp sockets must be snapped into place during installation. Model number CESL401-06 and SKU number 201-462 are printed on a white label on the top of the fixture.

 

Click here for full details

 

Recall Date: May 13, 2014
Recall Number: 14-173

Paramount Recalls Trident Ultraviolet Sanitation Systems for Pools Due to Fire Hazard

Description

This recall involves all Paramount Trident Series 2 (UV II) ultraviolet sanitation systems.  The sanitation systems are a gray tube that stands 32 inches high by 11 inches in diameter.  They are plumbed into the pool’s water circulation pipes and plugged in or hard-wired into an electrical system. The pool’s water runs through the unit and is sanitized by ultraviolet lamps. This is a secondary sanitation system used in conjunction with chemical sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine. “Trident UV II” or “Series 2 Trident Ultraviolet Corporation UV Sanitation System” is printed on a black label on the front of the units. In addition, a silver sticker on the units has the following wording “Paramount Series 2 Ultraviolet Pool Sanitizer System,” “Trident Series 2 Ultraviolet Water Treatment System” or “Trident Ultra UV Series 2 Water Treatment System” and a date code of 9/9/2013 or later. Some date codes consist of a series of letters. Consumers with letters in the date code need to go to www.1paramount.com to determine if their unit is included in the recall.

 

Click here for full details

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