OfficeChristmas_2017
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Vytenis Babrauskas, Ph.D

Abstract

Arc mapping was first introduced in the 2001 edition of NFPA 921 and was subsequently expanded so that in the recent editions it constitutes one of the four main methods for determining the origin of a fire. Careful consideration of engineering principles and large-scale experimental studies on the subject indicates that the relevance and prominence of arc mapping as a leading indicator of fire origin is greatly overstated. The technique is valid and applicable only in some very limited scenarios. Yet it has seen very extensive use in recent years by investigators preparing fire reports. In many cases, such attempted use of arc mapping is based on incorrect and invalid hypotheses, which are often implicitly assumed to be true instead of being explicitly stated. The following are myths: (i) An abundance of arc beads at a given locale means that fire originated in that area, while a paucity of arc beads indicates that it did not. (ii) When multiple arcs are present on a circuit, the direction of arcing will necessarily proceed upstream towards the power source. (iii) If an appliance is the victim of a fire, internal arcing will be primarily near the exterior of the unit, while arcing deep inside indicates a fire origin at that place. NFPA is urged to revise NFPA 921 to eliminate arc mapping as one of the four main methods for establishing fire origin, and to subsume it under the more general category of “fire patterns.” In addition, it is important that NFPA 921 reduce the implied general utility of the method and provide more explicit information on its interpretation and its limitations and on the circumstances under which it may be a valid method for assisting in the determination of the fire origin.

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Vytenis Babrauskas, Ph.D.

Abstract

Short circuits to building wiring can happen due to electrical mishaps, or as a result of fire impinging on the wiring. In either case, this may cause arcing.  It is sometimes erroneously assumed that this must produce signs of ‘electrical activity,’ which is a term often used by fire investigators to mean discernable arc marks or arc beads.  While such artifacts may indeed be produced, it is shown that it does not necessarily happen in every case.  Shorting and arcing (whether due to fire or due to an accident) may occur without leaving physical evidence that is discernable as an arc bead.  Ejecta also may, but do not have to be produced.  Some variables have been identified which can influence the size of arc beads, when arc beads are produced.  But stochastic aspects dominate, and no predictive correlations can be expected.  It is also shown that there are no prediction methods available to establish if an arc locale will result in severing or welding together of conductors.

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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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From: The Desk of Scotty Baker

To: The CCAI Training Committee

Thank You

Over the last several training seminars, even as an old hand, I have learned new information concerning fires and how they do what they do.

 

Get started today

RT #3-Sacramento-Tahoe-Vern Canon

Covering: Alpine, Amador, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento, Sierra and Yolo counties

Coordinator: Vern Canon

Phone: 530 277-3765 

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Date: February 7, 2017
Time: 11:00 am
Location:
Cattleman's Restaurant
2000 Taylor Road
Roseville, California
Topic: Smart Electrical Meter Hardware
Speaker:
Jim Nolt
JHNolt Associates
Cost: $21.00 for lunch

More info:

This presentation will include possible fire causes and failures, exemplar meters, and the importance of meters as evidence.

 The meal choices are:  Top Sirloin Steak, Atlantic Salmon Fillet. Lemon Herb Chicken, or Porcini Mushroom Ravioli.  The meal includes coffee, tea, or soda.  The cost is $16.99 plus tax and group tip so plan on a total cost of $21.00

The next meeting is TBA; topic and speaker to be announced.


Go to Upcoming RT Training page


Please call or send me an email should you have any questions or need further information.

Advertising: Any members involved in fire investigation that are not public safety investigators should have an advertisement with CCAI. I suppose even public safety investigators could place an ad, but they usually do not need to seek business as people usually can find them relatively easy.  CCAI membership includes public and private fire investigators, attorneys, insurance professionals including adjusters and special investigation unit personnel, engineers in all fields, along with many others with a special interest in fire investigations. The advertisements are placed on the website in the advertising section and in a rotating banner on the main page. They will also be included in a quarterly publication. Even if you don’t need to seek business, you can place a business card size ad on the webpage as a friend of CCAI like I have done. Contact me or April at the CCAI office for further details.

If you aren’t a member of the California Conference of Arson Investigators; you need to be! Contact me or April at the CCAI office for further details. You can apply on-line for membership at arson.org Please feel free to put my name on your application as a recommendation, just let me know that you did. The membership discount for the upcoming conference will more than cover the cost of becoming a member. There are multi-year membership discounts available.

Remember; CCAI is our organization, please let me know what we can do to help the organization serve you better.


Meeting Location:

Cattleman's Restaurant
2000 Taylor Road
Roseville, California 95678

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