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by Richard Bennett ~ Cozen O'Connor

In James D. Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 2014 WL 3844215, 2014 S.C. App. LEXIS 209 (S.C. App., Aug. 6, 2014), South Carolina’s Court of Appeals recently held that it was prejudicial error to allow the jury to consider either the report of a volunteer fire chief or his testimony on the issue of cause and origin if he does not qualify as an expert.  The take away is that if a firefighter can’t testify as an expert, any opinion he or she has on causation is simply not a datum that the fact-finder is entitled to know about.

The insured’s home was destroyed by fire in January of 2007.  His homeowner’s carrier, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, denied liability after a fire investigator hired by the carrier determined that the blaze was incendiary, and the insured brought suit.  The fire was extinguished by the local volunteer fire department, after which its Chief, David Wright, completed a mandatory form known as a “Truck Report.”  This stated that the fire originated in a kerosene heater in the living room and that the “Cause of Ignition” was “unintentional.”

 

Description

This recall involves 36-volt and 48-volt lithium ion rechargeable batteries sold separately and as original equipment with Pedego electric bikes. Recalled batteries of each voltage came in two styles. One style has a silver or black metal case that measures about 13 ½ inches long, 6 ½ inches wide and 2 ½ inches high, with black plastic end caps and a handle. The other style has a black or white plastic case that measures about 14 inches long, 6 ½ inches wide and 2 ½ inches high with a red indicator lamp on one end. The batteries have serial numbers that start with “DLG.” A label with the serial number is on one side of the metal batteries and on the underside of the plastic batteries.

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

Description

This recall involves 16-ounce white ceramic beverage mugs with metallic gold accents. A monogram letter A, B, C, D, E, G, H, J, K, L, M, R, S or T is printed in gold on the mug. A sticker on the bottom of the mug has “UPC# 698617673962,” “SKU# 138837” and “Retail: $6.99.”

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

Description

This recall involves Sears Kenmore stainless steel slide-in ranges with gas cooktops and electric ovens. Model number 790.42603xxx with serial numbers ranging from AF42500601 through AF43000916 and model number 790.42613xxx with serial numbers ranging from AF42500541 through AF43103647 are included. The model and serial numbers are located on the inside frame of the range door on the left side. Kenmore Elite is printed on the front of the oven door.

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

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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Description

This recall involves Lenovo battery packs sold with the following ThinkPad notebook computers: the Edge 11, 13, 14, 15, 120, 125, 320, 325, 420, 425, 430, 520, 525 and 530 series; the L412, L420/421, L512 and L520 series; the T410, T420, T510 and T520 series; the W510 and W520 series; and the X100e, X120e, X121e, X130e, X200, X200s, X201, X201s, X220 and X220t series.

 

The battery packs were also sold separately. The black battery packs measure between 8 to 11 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide and about 1 inch high. Recalled battery packs have one of the following part numbers starting with the fourth digit in a long series of numbers and letters printed on a white sticker below the bar code on the battery pack: 42T4695, 42T4711, 42T4740, 42T4798, 42T4804, 42T4812, 42T4816, 42T4822, 42T4826, 42T4828, 42T4834, 42T4840, 42T4862, 42T4868, 42T4874, 42T4880, 42T4890, 42T4944, 42T4948, 42T4954, 42T4958, 45N1022 and 45N1050.

 

Get the full details at CPSC or sign in to the members only section

 

 

CFI

CCAI-CFI-header1

The California Conference of Arson Investigators has patterned its CFI certification program after the State of California’s certification program with two major differences: 1) The CCAI – CFI program requires the applicant must stand for a written exam and 2) the CCAI-CFI certification requires participation in continued professional training.  To keep the certificate valid, a CCAI Certified Fire Investigator must attend 30 hours of approved tested training, or 40 hours of CCAI approved non-tested training or a combination of 40 hours tested and non-tested training every three years, from the date his or her certificate was issued.  The hourly training requirement can easily be met by attending two 20-hour CCAI training seminar’s within the three-year period.

To apply, a person does not have to be a member of CCAI; however it is strongly encouraged that everyone in the field of fire investigation belongs to the California Conference of Arson Investigators, the leading organization for training in fire and arson investigations in California.

To qualify, applicants must submit certificates of training showing that they have completed Fire Investigation 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and PC 832 or its equivalent.  If you already possess a Level II Fire Investigation Certification from the State of California, a copy of your certification certificate showing Level II will suffice to validate that you have met the training requirements mentioned above.

Applicants must also validate that they have had the overall responsibility of, and have investigated, 150 fires to determine fire origin and separately to determine fire cause.  They must also substantiate that they have testified twice, in court or in deposition (not in the same case), under oath, pertaining to the origin and cause of fires or in the field of explosions.  The testimony can be criminal, civil or from deposition but must be directly related to fire origin and fire cause or origin and cause in an explosion incident.  In lieu of actual court related testimony, the applicant may complete any one of the below listed courses.

The following courses/classes will meet or substitute for the criteria of the court room requirements:

  1. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF & E)  course on "Advanced Origin And Cause, Courtroom Techniques"
  2. The National Fire Academy (NFA) " course on Interview/Interrogation & Courtroom Techniques"
  3. The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) " Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony  (Expert Witness Testimony Class offered by CCAI)

 

The question has risen, “If an investigator possesses a California State Fire Investigator II Certification, why would he/she have to verify again that he/she has investigated 150 fires and testified twice in court?”  It is the CCAI Board of Directors’ position that, if CCAI is going to certify an investigator, the person’s qualifications must be independently validated by CCAI using documents and under oath statements.

The initial application fee, if you are a CCAI member, is $150.00 and the certification is validated for three years.  Renewal of the CCAI-CFI certification, if you are a CCAI member, is $75.00 every three years.  If you are not a member of CCAI, the initial application fee is $300.00 and renewal is $150.00 every three years.

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Location

1279 North White Avenue 
Pomona, California 91768 
Phone:  (909) 865-5004
Fax (909) 865-5024 
8:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Monday - Friday

 

 

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