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Abstract Forest fires are generally consciously or unconsciously the work of man for various reasons. Fires generated by voltaic arc between power lines and the underlying trees do not occur often. These few cases may be only demonstrated by analyzing around the site where the arc may have been generated. Material such as leaves, bark and soil can be analyzed to find the metallic residues from the fused cables. The electrical cables usually composed of aluminum or copper alloys, when involved in an electric arc may spray fused micro-drops of metals, increasing the natural level of such elements. In two cases, the Al and Cu concentrations were increased by between 2.56 to 13.9 times the background levels. Electron microscopy of leaf surfaces has identified some profound alterations produced by the intense heat of the electrical discharge.

Abstract

Forest fires are generally consciously or unconsciously the work of man for various reasons. Fires generated byvoltaic arc between power lines and the underlying trees do not occur often. These few cases may be only demonstratedby analyzing around the site where the arc may have been generated. Material such as leaves, bark and soil can beanalyzed to find the metallic residues from the fused cables. The electrical cables usually composed of aluminum orcopper alloys, when involved in an electric arc may spray fused micro-drops of metals, increasing the natural levelof such elements. In two cases, the Al and Cu concentrations were increased by between 2.56 to 13.9 times thebackground levels. Electron microscopy of leaf surfaces has identified some profound alterations produced by theintense heat of the electrical discharge.

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In 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 56,000 structure fires per year in homes that involved heating equipment. These fires resulted in annual losses of 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries, and $1.0 billion in direct property damage. These homes included one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings). Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). The fires involving space heaters accounted for 84% of the civilian deaths and 75% of civilian injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment, as well as over half (52%) of direct property damage. Another one-third (32%) of fires involved a fireplace or chimney, but these fires accounted for a much smaller share of civilian fatalities (5%) and civilian injuries (6%). Central heat and water heaters were responsible for 12% and 10% of home fires caused by heating equipment, respectively.

Abstract

In 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 56,000 structure fires per year in homes that involved heating equipment. These fires resulted in annual losses of 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries, and $1.0 billion in direct property damage. These homes included one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings).Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). The fires involving space heaters accounted for 84% of the civilian deaths and 75% of civilian injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment, as well as over half (52%) of direct property damage. Another one-third (32%) of fires involved a fireplace or chimney, but these fires accounted for a much smaller share of civilian fatalities (5%) and civilian injuries (6%). Central heat and water heaters were responsible for 12% and 10% of home fires caused by heating equipment, respectively.

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Automobile engine coolant related fires may result from engine coolant leakage, an increase in the concentration of the glycol in the water/glycol mixture, the nature of the vapor/particle distribution, and contact with an ignition source in the engine compartment. Ethylene glycol, a common coolant, is a flammable liquid with an ignition temperature near 800F. In recent years, propylene glycol is being used because of environmental reasons. Propylene glycol is also a flammable liquid with an ignition temperature near 700F. In an automotive application, the glycol is mixed with water at about a 50/50 ratio. Ignition of this concentration of coolant is difficult because of the water. When released at high temperatures into the atmosphere where the water evaporates, the glycol vapor/liquid droplets can reach the state of an ignitable mixture. Typical ignition sources in the engine compartment include hot surfaces (exhaust manifold, exhaust system) and electrical components (relays, distributor, spark plug wires). Automobile accidents, resulting in hot vapor expulsion from the coolant system, are also known to cause fires.

By Charles C. Roberts, Jr., Ph. D., P.E.

Automobile engine coolant related fires may result from engine coolant leakage,an increase in the concentration of the glycol in the water/glycol mixture, thenature of the vapor/particle distribution, and contact with an ignition source inthe engine compartment. Ethylene glycol, a common coolant, is a flammableliquid with an ignition temperature near 800F. In recent years, propylene glycolis being used because of environmental reasons. Propylene glycol is also aflammable liquid with an ignition temperature near 700F. In an automotiveapplication, the glycol is mixed with water at about a 50/50 ratio. Ignition of thisconcentration of coolant is difficult because of the water. When released at hightemperatures into the atmosphere where the water evaporates, the glycolvapor/liquid droplets can reach the state of an ignitable mixture. Typical ignitionsources in the engine compartment include hot surfaces (exhaust manifold,exhaust system) and electrical components (relays, distributor, spark plug wires).Automobile accidents, resulting in hot vapor expulsion from the coolant system,are also known to cause fires.

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Abstract

In this paper, we review the research results about the identification of the electrical fire trace evidence and the fire reason recognition. We point out the existing problems and put forward the corresponding suggestions to promote the development of the cause of the fire investigation and make it better to serve for the work of fire investigation.

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From Out of the Abyss...

This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky..  It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.

Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted 

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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Welcome to CCAI

The California Conference of Arson Investigators is the oldest and the most active fire and arson investigator's association in the country, with over 1,100 members. CCAI is the only organization that transcends the gap between the public (fire service, law enforcement) and private (i.e. insurance adjusters, private investigators, etc.) sectors. Created in 1954, and incorporated under the laws of the State of California in 1960 as a non-profit corporation, it serves the professional needs of men and women engaged in all aspects of fire and arson investigation. CCAI is Chapter #22 of the International Association of Arson Investigators.

CCAI conducts semi-annual training seminars, using the finest instructors from across the country. The most up to date technical information on fire, fraud, and arson investigation is provided to hundreds of participants. All aspects of fire/arson investigation are covered in training provided to public and private sectors.

Representing the fire service and professional fire and arson investigators in California.CCAI provides regional Roundtable meetings at locations throughout the State of California. The Round Table meetings are the backbone of the organization. Attendees are presented with programs of special interest at these meetings. One of the many benefits of of attending these meetings is the ability to network with local public and private fire investigators to discuss recent fire trends and individual fire cases.

CCAI is proud to be involved in the advancement of fire and arson investigation. Through education and training, CCAI has proven the true value of a professional organization. Through an extremely active membership, this non profit organization has brought together various divergent segments of a diversified profession, and helped to make fire and arson training in California the best and most coordinated, professional training in the nation.

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