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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
















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Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation

Part 1

As the spring fire season approaches, fire investigators across the country will be responding to wildfires to conduct origin and cause investigations. In many jurisdictions, investigators are assigned to a type of investigation that is unfamiliar. During the response, the investigator may be thinking that it is no big deal, having already investigated hundreds of structure fires. How hard can a wildfire be? The answer is simple; you must be trained in wildfire investigation to understand the process.


Part 2

In Part 2 of “Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation,” we will continue to discuss the main points for the local fire investigator to focus on when conducting a wildfire investigation. Hopefully, last month’s article was an eyeopener for some local investigators to expand their education. The topics we will cover this month will be fire cause determination and fire cause categories/ignition sources. Investigators should become familiar with NFPA 921 and NWCG Wildfire Origin and Cause Determination Handbook.


Zero-clearance fireplaces a main source of fires

Chief: Almost one-third of High Desert house fires caused by zero-clearance fireplaces

A Helendale house fire earlier this month that caused $50,000 in damages was the latest in a string of residential blazes to be traced to a zero-clearance fireplace, a County Fire official said.

Battalion Chief Warren Peterson blames zero-clearance fireplaces for roughly 30 percent of house fires responded to by San Bernardino County Fire.


USDC Pennsylvania Permits Vaporizer Fire Case to Proceed to Trial

In MUTUAL BENEFIT INSURANCE COMPANY v. KAZ, INC.,Civil Action No. 1:12-CV-2108 (Feb. 20, 2014) at was a civil action filed by plaintiff Mutual Benefit Insurance Company ("MBIC"), as subrogee of Betty and Allen Miller, alleging strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty against defendant Kaz, Inc. ("Kaz"). MBIC seeks reimbursement of monies paid pursuant to an insurance policy issued to the Millers, whose house was damaged in a fire. MBIC alleged that Kaz designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold a vaporizer that caused the fire. Presently before the court is Kaz's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of one of MBIC's submitted experts, Randolph Marshall of Marshall Forensic, LLC. For the following reasons, the court denied the motion.

Read more... 

The Six Motives for Firesetting

At any point during your career as a fire investigator you will be assigned to investigate an incendiary fire. When the investigator arrives on the scene, information about the incident will be coming from a variety of sources, including police, firefighters, witnesses and the occupants or owner. It is critical to sort all of the information and analyze it properly. During the investigation we must use critical thinking and ask many questions such as, why was this fire was deliberately set? Why was the home, business or vehicle the target of an arsonist? What was the motivation of the arsonist?


BRP Recalls Ski-Doo and Can-Am Lithium-ion Rechargeable Batteries and Heated Gloves Due to Fire Haza


This recall involves BRP Ski-Doo and Can-Am heated gloves and replacement Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. The gloves are only available in black and are sold with two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and a charger. The gloves have either “ski-doo” or “can-am” on the pointer finger and on the wrist band of each glove. Both gloves come in size XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL. The battery pack is located on the zipped pouch on the wrist of each glove. Each battery is wrapped in white plastic with black writing which includes the warning information.  The recalled product codes can be found on the label sewn inside of the gloves. Recalled product codes are 446247 for the Can-Am heated gloves, 446248 for the Ski-Doo heated gloves and 4880580001 for the two Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that are sold separately.



More Articles...

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