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article found at KXAN.com -Leslie Rhode/KXAN News Special Contributor photo by Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.


AUSTIN (KXAN) — When you have three small boys running around your house, you also have a slew of electronic toys and gadgets that come along with it. To make sure she was always prepared for long road trips and car pools, Jennifer Buaas kept extra AA and AAA batteries in her vehicle, just in case one of her boys needed to power one of their toys. 

 Early Halloween morning, Jennifer heard a car horn going off in her driveway.

“My husband grabbed the keys, went to the garage, opened the garage door and the Suburban was completely on fire,” said Jennifer.

Read more...

 

Subrogation & Recovery Law Blog Posted on March 15, 2016 by Michael Melusky--Cozen and O'Connor 

In a recent decision, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered an issue of first impression regarding the doctrine of spoliation. Maryland appellate courts had “not established how to apply the spoliation doctrine in the context of a situation” “where the physical object . . . that was destroyed [was] itself the subject of the case.” Cumberland Ins. Grp. v. Delmarva Power, No. 72, 2016 Md. App. LEXIS 12, at *10 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 1, 2016). The court held that “it is appropriate to balance the degree of fault . . . on the part of the spoliator, on the one hand, with the level of prejudice that injures to the defense because the evidence has been destroyed on the other.” Id. at 11. The court explained that if this balance favors imposing a sanction, “the question then becomes what remedy is appropriate and whether a remedy less drastic then dismissal can cure the prejudice to the defendant.” Id.

 

From Out of the Abyss

This weeks article is written by Dr. Ruth Alexander.  It is from the May 1956 VOL II No.4 issue ofthe California Conference of Arson Investigators' newsletter.

Our America: Treatment "Coddles" Juvenile Delinquents 

 

Description

This recall involves clear acrylic Hanukkah menorahs in a pyramid design that are 10.5 inches long, 1.2 inches wide and 2.3 inches high. Model number 240-14-0169 and bar code can be found on a round white label on the side of the menorah.

Get all the details at CPSC.

Abstract:

Although electrical fires constitute the greatest percentage of the main causes of building fires, the critical evidence used by fire investigators to identify electrical fires is not always convincing to the general public.  In this study, we scrutinized the microstructures of fire-causing copper wires and simulated the external environmental conditions required for the formation of fire-causing arc beads. Our metallographic investigation revealed that the primary thermal dendrites of copper at the fire-causing arc bead grew parallel to one another, but in the opposite direction to the heat flow.  We determined the relationships of the undercooling (?T0), the growth velocity (?), and the primary spacing (?) of the dendrites with respect to the electrical wire’s diameter.  Accordingly, fire investigators can now identify fire-causing arc beads in terms of these metallographic characteristics, thereby providing clear scientific evidence for litigant judgments of electrical fires.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Holds that a Person Violates the Insurance Fraud Statute Even if Insurer is Not Duped Into Paying a Fraudulent Claim by Michael Henry |  Cozen O'Connor

In the recent case of State of New Jersey v. Robert Goodwin, 224 N.J. 102, 129 A.3d 316 (N.J. 2016), the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a person violates the insurance fraud statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6(a), even if he or she does not succeed in duping an insurance carrier into paying a fraudulent claim. In doing so, the Supreme Court reinstated Robert Goodwin’s conviction for insurance fraud.

 

Cooking fires: do you know what to do?

Shared by Jamie Novak, St Paul Fire Department

cooking-oil-fireST. PAUL, Minn. - If anyone knew her way around a kitchen, it was Wille Mae Coleman. No one could count the number of times she'd fried chicken for supper. Then last August, alone at the stove in her apartment, the 75-year-old grandmother died doing it.

"I vividly remember getting the phone call," says her son Don Coleman, somberly. "Very difficult, that's my mother." Wille Mae suffered serious burns on 70 percent of her body. He was with his mother at Regions Hospital when she died.

Read more and watch the video

Investigators: Fire safe smokes?

Shared by Jamie Novak, St. Paul Fire Department

safe_smokesMysterious house fires are happening a lot more than officials had expected, and so-called "fire safe" cigarettes are a common culprit.  FOX 9 Investigator Jeff Baillon found the special paper that's supposed to "self-extinguish" can still be a smoldering risk, and lawmakers are now looking into it.

Watch the video

Sun, vodka bottles start fire inside Burnsville liquor store

Shared by Jamie Novak, St. Paul Fire Department

by Maury Glover

Vodka-fireBURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Burnsville fire officials say they've never heard of so-called firewater could become a starter without the aid of a match or spark, but that's exactly what happened when vodka bottles magnified sunlight and started a fire inside Red Lion Liquors.

The store has been in Burnsville since 1978, and it's occupied its current building for the past nine years. They have bulletproof glass to stop burglars and vandals from breaking in, but that couldn't' protect them from a problem that started inside.

Read more and watch the video

The Goal is Truth

By Paul Francois & Enrique Garcia
Third Degree Communications

When testifying in court as to the manner in which we conducted an interview, defense counsel will often ask us whether we just wanted his client to "confess." We answer that we do not seek confessions  but rather truth. After all, no good cop is interested in false information, only truthful information. That is why our motto at Third Degree Communications is "Nothing but the Truth."

One little tidbit we impart on our students to help convey this concept is by reminding them that if obtaining the truth is their ultimate goal, then they should be doing nothing that might prevent them from obtaining the truth. For example, getting angry with a subject who is lying would most likely sever rapport and interfere with accomplishing the goal of obtaining the truth. Raising my voice, insulting him, or speaking to him in a condescending manner are all most likely going to be rapport killers that will stymie my ability to get to a successful and truthful outcome with the subject. If we want to get people to provide us with truthful information, we should avoid doing anything that will interfere with accomplishing this goal.

This actually applies to many areas of our lives if we think about it. Let's say I've made a new year's resolution to avoid gossiping about other people. There are several steps I can and should consider that will help me accomplish this goal, including but not limited to:

  •  Avoiding certain people who I know thrive on gossip
  • Not asking certain questions that are more likely to lead to gossip, such as "Who did that?" "What are you guys talking about?" "What happened next?"
  • Excusing myself from conversations that turn in the direction of gossip

In the same manner, if my goal is to obtain truthful information, I must only engage in behavior that's more likely to help me accomplish this goal and to avoid behavior that will interfere: 

  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Manipulating my tone of voice to maximize my effectiveness
  • Establishing rapport
  • Being a compassionate, empathetic listener
  • Projecting an image of being non-judgmental and accepting

 

Getting people to tell the truth means creating an environment that is conducive to helping them cooperate. Obtaining our goal means everything that I say and do is oriented toward achieving that goal. It's a remarkably simple concept, but a critical one to remember throughout the interview.

Passing of Rob Van Wormer

The following article was submitted by Randy Martin, CCAI Chaplain.

 

As I arrived at the parking lot of the HP Pavillion in San Jose, I was greeted by a red sea of fire apparatus.  The San Jose Fire Department had provided two ladder trucks that were set up in the parking lot; ladders fully extended facing each other with a very large American flag hanging between them.  It was a spectacular site, and what an awesome tribute to Rob.  The flag hanging is this manner has always impressed me.

After arriving, I located the Chaplain that would be performing the service.  As it turned out, he was a Captain that had I worked with in Riverside, California.  It was good to see him again.

The procession that entered the parking lot was laden with fire apparatus and was followed by the limousines that carried the family.  The procession route was lined with fire personnel standing at attention and saluting as the fire engine, which carried the casket, made its way through the crowd.

The San Jose Fire Department had positioned two additional ladder trucks with their ladders fully extended, donning the American flag hanging between them inside the Pavillion.

The service opened with music and a warm welcome to everyone in attendance followed by prayer, guest speakers, the eulogy, and a message to the Fire Family, a Law Enforcement prayer and a song.  The Benediction was followed by the Fire Fighters prayer, the Last Alarm and the Riffle Volley.  Taps rang out from the bag pipes, which always gets to me.  In closing, they had the Flag Folding after which the pipes and drums played Amazing Grace and ended with the presentation of gifts for the Family.

Rob was only on this earth for 47 years; he left us way too soon! He will be missed dearly.

Fire Chaplain

Randy Martin

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