Fire Investigation report

Order Description
Task

Investigatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a deliberately lit fire – Sources of evidence 2750 – 3500 words
Based on the methodology described by NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigation (2014) and utilizin” rel=”nofollow”>ing additional in” rel=”nofollow”>information that you have obtain” rel=”nofollow”>ined from the Study Guide, [U1] please
respond to the followin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. You have been in” rel=”nofollow”>instructed to provide a report as to the origin” rel=”nofollow”>in, cause and responsibility for a fire at a particular commercial premises. Your report will form the basis for
expert evidence that you will be required to present in” rel=”nofollow”>in court and must therefore be prepared in” rel=”nofollow”>in compliance with the Expert Witness Code of Conduct relevant to your state and jurisdiction.
Scenario
At 09:30 am on Thursday 2nd of May 2013, you are in” rel=”nofollow”>instructed via email by Orange Insurance Limited to attend at the scene of a buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing “to conduct a origin” rel=”nofollow”>in and cause in” rel=”nofollow”>investigation, providin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
detailed in” rel=”nofollow”>information, as listed above, in” rel=”nofollow”>in your report”.
You are provided with the followin” rel=”nofollow”>ing in” rel=”nofollow”>information by way of background to a potential claim bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing made again” rel=”nofollow”>inst Orange Insurance Limited by the owners of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing with whom a current policy of
in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance is held:

Insured: Greens Plastic Cup and Caterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing Supplies Pty Ltd.
Address of Insured Premises: 100 Blacks Road, Dandenong, Victoria.

Busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness undertaken at the Insured Premises: production, storage and distribution of plastic cups to the caterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing in” rel=”nofollow”>industry.

Buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing sum in” rel=”nofollow”>insured: $2 million.
Plant and equipment sum in” rel=”nofollow”>insured: $1 million.
Stock sum in” rel=”nofollow”>insured: $1 million.
Policy Commenced: 1st August 2011.

You confirm receipt of your in” rel=”nofollow”>instructions by return email and make the necessary arrangements to attend the scene.

When you arrive at the scene you observe that a north facin” rel=”nofollow”>ing in” rel=”nofollow”>industrial buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing has been severely damaged by fire. The buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing is of steel portal frame construction and measures approximately 20m
x 80m. The walls and roof are clad with Colorbond sheetin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and there are a number of clear plastic skylights in” rel=”nofollow”>in the roof. An office measurin” rel=”nofollow”>ing approximately 20m x 10m is attached to the front of the
buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing; it is of similar construction with glass-panelled win” rel=”nofollow”>indows and a door in” rel=”nofollow”>incorporated in” rel=”nofollow”>into the front wall.

There appears to be a partial wall and roof collapse in” rel=”nofollow”>in one corner at the rear of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing in” rel=”nofollow”>in what appears to be a production/storage area. There also appear to be patterns of heat damage to
the wall claddin” rel=”nofollow”>ing at more that one location in” rel=”nofollow”>in this area. The win” rel=”nofollow”>indows of the office are blackened however the roof and wall claddin” rel=”nofollow”>ing appears not to have suffered any obvious heat and smoke damage.
A concreted yard, measurin” rel=”nofollow”>ing some 20m x 20m is located at the rear of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and accessed by a concrete driveway along the side. A 2m high cyclone fence encloses the rear yard and driveway,
and is secured by double openin” rel=”nofollow”>ing gates at the front of the property.

The fire brigade is still in” rel=”nofollow”>in attendance when you arrive and crews are applyin” rel=”nofollow”>ing water to what appears to be the last of the fire at the rear of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. Police are also in” rel=”nofollow”>in attendance and there
is yellow and red fire brigade tape at the front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. Several metres back from the front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, you observe blue and white police tape securin” rel=”nofollow”>ing an area that extends across the
front of the property, in” rel=”nofollow”>includin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the double openin” rel=”nofollow”>ing gates. A uniformed police officer is standin” rel=”nofollow”>ing alongside the tape directin” rel=”nofollow”>ing people to stay clear of the property.

You approach the uniformed police officer and in” rel=”nofollow”>introduce yourself. A few min” rel=”nofollow”>inutes later, a detective (Senior Detective John Brown) approaches you and in” rel=”nofollow”>indicates that he is conductin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a police
in” rel=”nofollow”>investigation in” rel=”nofollow”>into the cause of the fire. You identify yourself to the detective, state your in” rel=”nofollow”>interest in” rel=”nofollow”>in the fire and produce a copy of your emailed in” rel=”nofollow”>instructions from the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance company.
Detective Brown in” rel=”nofollow”>invites you to enter the area bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing secured by police. A few min” rel=”nofollow”>inutes later, a member of the fire brigade fire in” rel=”nofollow”>investigation unit and a member of the police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination
unit approach you and you similarly advise them of your in” rel=”nofollow”>interest in” rel=”nofollow”>in the fire. They explain” rel=”nofollow”>in that they will be commencin” rel=”nofollow”>ing their in” rel=”nofollow”>internal examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing once the fire has been fully
extin” rel=”nofollow”>inguished. At this time, they say that the cause of the fire is not known and little is known about the busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness or the circumstances under which it occurred. You are told that the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of
the busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness, a Mr Green, has not been in” rel=”nofollow”>interviewed because he is currently in” rel=”nofollow”>in hospital bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing treated for burns received as a result of a “barbeque accident” at his home. The fire brigade
in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator and the police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner consent to you accompanyin” rel=”nofollow”>ing them in” rel=”nofollow”>into the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing while they conduct their in” rel=”nofollow”>investigation.

The fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator advises you that the fire brigade received the first of numerous triple zero calls concernin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the fire at 2:05 am. He says that crew on the first respondin” rel=”nofollow”>ing appliance
observed a large column of smoke when they were about one kilometre from the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. On arrival, they observed flames ventin” rel=”nofollow”>ing through the roof of the production/storage area of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing at
three locations. While the office was not alight at this time, smoke was ventin” rel=”nofollow”>ing from the front door. The front gates to the property were said to be open and the first crew forced entry to the
front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing via the office. A second crew used a petrol driven power saw to cut their way in” rel=”nofollow”>into a roller door along the side of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, located within” rel=”nofollow”>in the production/storage area.
Crews wearin” rel=”nofollow”>ing breathin” rel=”nofollow”>ing apparatus then entered the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing with hose lin” rel=”nofollow”>ines and brought the fire under control by 3:00 am. However, some areas within” rel=”nofollow”>in the production/storage area contin” rel=”nofollow”>inued to re-
ignite requirin” rel=”nofollow”>ing further application of water after that time. The fire in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator added that there is an external fire hose reel located next to the rear roller door of the factory but that the
hose has been cut prior to the fire renderin” rel=”nofollow”>ing it in” rel=”nofollow”>inoperable.

After completin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the conversation with the fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator, you decide to talk to some onlookers until such time as the fire is fully extin” rel=”nofollow”>inguished and you are able to enter the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing.
One person, Mrs Mary Smith, is the proprietor of a small card prin” rel=”nofollow”>intin” rel=”nofollow”>ing factory on the opposite side of the street to the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured premises and tells you what bad luck Mr Green has had lately.
Accordin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to Mrs Smith, Mr Green moved in” rel=”nofollow”>into the premises about two years ago and busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness was very busy for the first year, with the delivery truck comin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing all the time and double shifts
operatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing most days. Then about a year ago, the delivery truck didn’t seem to be as busy, the busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness returned to a sin” rel=”nofollow”>ingle shift and the car park at the front seemed to contain” rel=”nofollow”>in fewer cars. Mrs
Smith in” rel=”nofollow”>indicated that, over the past two months, she only saw the delivery truck go out once or twice. She was told by one of her customers (who services the delivery truck for the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness)
that another cup manufacturer was sellin” rel=”nofollow”>ing cups to the caterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing in” rel=”nofollow”>industry at half the price of Greens Cups and that a lot of their clients were cancellin” rel=”nofollow”>ing orders. Several other onlookers who work in” rel=”nofollow”>in
nearby factories generally confirm what Mrs Smith has said about the delivery trucks and staff numbers reducin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. They also tell you that the premises have been for sale for about nin” rel=”nofollow”>ine months, that
there is a boat for sale in” rel=”nofollow”>in the rear yard, and that the general upkeep of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing has deteriorated durin” rel=”nofollow”>ing this time.

You see a television news crew standin” rel=”nofollow”>ing nearby and in” rel=”nofollow”>introduce yourself to them. They tell you that they in” rel=”nofollow”>interviewed some workers at a bakery located six premises down from the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured premises
earlier that mornin” rel=”nofollow”>ing as they were leavin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to go home. One of the workers said that he came outside for his regular coffee break at about 01:45 am and did not see anythin” rel=”nofollow”>ing unusual. However, about 10
min” rel=”nofollow”>inutes after he went back in” rel=”nofollow”>inside, he heard what he believed to be a car drivin” rel=”nofollow”>ing away with its engin” rel=”nofollow”>ine revvin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and tyres screechin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. Not long after that, another worker came outside, saw flames
penetratin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the roof of the subject premises and immediately telephone the emergency phone number for your specific state or country.

You then decide to walk around the perimeter of the property, while fire crew complete their extin” rel=”nofollow”>inguishment of the fire. You begin” rel=”nofollow”>in at the front double gate and observe a padlock and chain” rel=”nofollow”>in fixed to
the gate. The padlock is in” rel=”nofollow”>in the open position and the chain” rel=”nofollow”>in appears not to have been cut. You observe a “For Sale” sign attached to the front fence next to the gates; it appears aged and weathered
and you note the real estate agent’s details. The grass on the front nature strip is overgrown and there is an accumulation of rubbish again” rel=”nofollow”>inst the fence. By contrast, the frontages of other
premises in” rel=”nofollow”>in the street appear to be neat and tidy.

On the external wall of the office, you observe an audible alarm panel with a blue light that is not flashin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. A sticker for “Blue Light Security Services, 150 Red Street, Carlton” is attached to
the panel and you observe a similar sticker on a win” rel=”nofollow”>indow at the front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. You telephone the manager of “Blue Light Security Services”, who in” rel=”nofollow”>informs you that the alarm system at the
in” rel=”nofollow”>insured premises was activated at 5.30 pm on Wednesday 1st May 2013 and deactivated at about 1.45 am on Thursday 2nd May 2013 via operation of the alarm key pad. He then advises that he is able to
provide a copy of the alarm history subject to written consent from the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness. He also advises that his company in” rel=”nofollow”>installed the security system at the premises and that he
would be able to provide a plan showin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the location of the various detectors and the zones to which they were wired; again” rel=”nofollow”>in, this would require the consent of the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness.

You approach the front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and observe that the front door is secured by a hin” rel=”nofollow”>inged outer steel grille security door with a pin” rel=”nofollow”>in tumbler lock fitted. There is no sign of force havin” rel=”nofollow”>ing been
applied to this lock. You observe heavy tool marks to the outer metal frame of the door, mid-way from top to bottom. These marks are consistent with forcible entry by a heavy chisel like tool with
a blade width of approximately 2cm. There do not appear to be any other signs of this door bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing forced.

Inside the outer security door, you observe a second hin” rel=”nofollow”>inged door, of metal frame construction with a full length glass panel. This door has two locks; a double cylin” rel=”nofollow”>inder dead bolt lock and a master
keyed cylin” rel=”nofollow”>inder lock. Neither lock shows any sign of forcin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. You observe heavy marks on the door frame, similar to those on the outer security door. The glass panel remain” rel=”nofollow”>ins in” rel=”nofollow”>intact and there does
not appear to be any other signs of force entry on this door. You observe metal security bars over the win” rel=”nofollow”>indows of the office. The glass in” rel=”nofollow”>in these is still in” rel=”nofollow”>intact and none show signs of forced entry.
You observe a roller door on the eastern side of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, about 10m beyond the office. The words “Inward Goods” are located above this door that is closed and shows no sign of forced entry.
You observe a second roller door on the eastern side of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, towards the southern end, with the words “Outward Goods” located above it. A large in” rel=”nofollow”>inverted “V” has been cut through the door,
creatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing an openin” rel=”nofollow”>ing about 2m high and 2m wide. You are able to see that there are two padbolts securin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the roller door to the floor from the in” rel=”nofollow”>inside; both are in” rel=”nofollow”>in the locked position, and neither
shows any signs of bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing forced. An external walk around of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing reveals no other means of entry, other than the main” rel=”nofollow”>in entrance/front door and two side roller doors.

Within” rel=”nofollow”>in the rear yard of the premises you observe a parked delivery truck with the words “Greens Plastic Cup and Caterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing Supplies” pain” rel=”nofollow”>inted on the sides. There are large oil stain” rel=”nofollow”>ins under the truck
and a rear driver’s side tyre appears to be slightly deflated. The truck appears dirty and you form the view that it has been parked at that location for some time. As you walk around the rear
yard, you observe that pallets, drums, metal contain” rel=”nofollow”>iners and other items are placed randomly and generally in” rel=”nofollow”>in an untidy fashion. You also observe a ski-boat on a trailer with a “For Sale” on it.
There is a considerable amount of dust on the boat and the outboard motor shows signs of corrosion from exposure to the weather.
Along the eastern side of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, near the “Inward Goods” roller door, you observe several pallets of polymer beads covered in” rel=”nofollow”>in shrin” rel=”nofollow”>ink-wrap plastic. You note the delivery date on four of the
pallets as 1st February 2013 and the delivery date on two of the pallets as 1st March 2013. Accordin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to the delivery labels, the stock is from a company known as “Plastic Wholesale Supplies” of
100 Northern Road, Moorabbin” rel=”nofollow”>in. There appears to be dust and leaves accumulated on them suggestin” rel=”nofollow”>ing that they have sat in” rel=”nofollow”>in this position for some time, perhaps several months.

You contact the manager of “Plastic Wholesale Supplies”, Mr John White, who in” rel=”nofollow”>informs you that his company had a contract of deliverin” rel=”nofollow”>ing 12 pallets of polymeric beads a fortnight to the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured
company from 2011 to 2012. He also in” rel=”nofollow”>informs you that this was reduced to 12 pallets a month, one year ago, further reduced six months ago and cancelled two months ago. Mr White understands there
might have been some problems with one of the production lin” rel=”nofollow”>ines, which had shut down due to a mechanical failure. He also heard rumours that another supplier was producin” rel=”nofollow”>ing cups cheaply and some of
Greens customers were shiftin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to the new supplier. As you are endin” rel=”nofollow”>ing this conversation, Mr White tells you he hopes the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance company pays the claim out quickly as he is takin” rel=”nofollow”>ing legal action
again” rel=”nofollow”>inst Greens, because their accounts have fallen behin” rel=”nofollow”>ind by more than six months; in” rel=”nofollow”>in fact, only last week process servers delivered a civil complain” rel=”nofollow”>int to Greens for the recovery of $500,000.00 for
unpaid stock.

You are now advised that the fire has been fully extin” rel=”nofollow”>inguished and that the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing has been declared safe by the fire brigade to hand over to the police. The police detective (Senior Detective
John Brown) confirms that he is now the officer-in” rel=”nofollow”>in-charge of the scene and authorizes the forensic crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner and fire brigade fire in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator to enter the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing for the purpose of
undertakin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a fire origin” rel=”nofollow”>in and cause in” rel=”nofollow”>investigation. You are in” rel=”nofollow”>invited to join” rel=”nofollow”>in the in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators as an observer on the understandin” rel=”nofollow”>ing that police have control of the scene until such time as it is
returned to the owners of the property. Aware that this is potentially a crime scene, you agree that you will not touch or in” rel=”nofollow”>in any way in” rel=”nofollow”>interfere with anythin” rel=”nofollow”>ing within” rel=”nofollow”>in the premises until directed to
do so by the officer-in” rel=”nofollow”>in-charge.

You enter the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing and remark to the in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators that there are marks on both doors that appear to have been made by some kin” rel=”nofollow”>ind of implement. The fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator tells you that these
marks are consistent with a fire brigade forcible entry tool, known as a Halligan Tool. He also tells you that when he spoke to the crew who made the in” rel=”nofollow”>initial entry to the front of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing,
they advised him that they had used a Halligan Tool to force both doors.
Further in” rel=”nofollow”>into the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, you observe the control panel for an alarm system located on the eastern wall. There is a keypad and a sticker “Blue Light Security Services, 150 Red Street, Carlton”
affixed to the panel. You observe no damage to the keypad or panel. You observe a number of passive in” rel=”nofollow”>infra-red movement detectors located in” rel=”nofollow”>in the office and suspect that there may be others
throughout the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, along with reed switches on each of the doors.

As you look around the office, you note that there is a lot of sootin” rel=”nofollow”>ing but no obvious direct fire damage. You observe that all but one of the office filin” rel=”nofollow”>ing cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inets are closed and appear to be
locked. The top drawer of one cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inet with the words “Accounts Receivable” stencilled onto it is open; you look in” rel=”nofollow”>into the open drawer and observe that it is empty. A second drawer with the words
“Accounts Payable” stencilled onto it has been partially opened but still contain” rel=”nofollow”>ins a number of documents There is no obvious signs of forced entry to either drawer. It appears to you that a liquid
has been poured onto the filin” rel=”nofollow”>ing cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inet with the open drawer, and that this liquid has splashed onto the carpet floor coverin” rel=”nofollow”>ing formin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a wet patch which emits an odour that is remin” rel=”nofollow”>iniscent of
petrol.

As you look further around the office, you observe computer monitors at each of five work stations. However, only two of the work stations contain” rel=”nofollow”>in personal effects, family photographs, office
stationery and the like. The cables from these monitors appear to converge on a cupboard with an open door. You observe a dust outlin” rel=”nofollow”>ine on a shelf where it appears that an object 10cm x 40 cm was
once located; there are soot deposits on the shelf and also on the surface of the doors and their frames. You look in” rel=”nofollow”>into the cupboard and are unable to see any computer hard drives such as those
used to back up data.

At the reception desk, there is a large staff photograph with a person who appears to be the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of the busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness seated at his office desk. Within” rel=”nofollow”>in this photograph, you observe three fishin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
trophies, a family photograph, framed certificates, a photograph of a large boat and a framed sports jersey with an autographed photograph of a premiership football team. You look in” rel=”nofollow”>into office that
you suspect was occupied by the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of the busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness and none of the above mentioned items appear to be present.

You then move in” rel=”nofollow”>into the production/storage part of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing with the police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner and fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators and immediately observe that this area appears to have been more
severely damaged by fire. A buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing plan on the wall of the office in” rel=”nofollow”>indicates that pre-production goods enter the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing through the northern most roller door along the eastern wall, production
takes place in” rel=”nofollow”>in the centre of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, and fin” rel=”nofollow”>inished goods are stored in” rel=”nofollow”>in the area of the southern most roller door in” rel=”nofollow”>in the eastern wall, awaitin” rel=”nofollow”>ing dispatch.

At the northern end of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, you observe an area approximately 20m x 10m contain” rel=”nofollow”>inin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the charred remain” rel=”nofollow”>ins of several stacks of timber pallets. Melted plastic covers all of these pallets
however you are able to estimate the number of pallets in” rel=”nofollow”>in the stacks from the charred timber debris on the floor and damage patterns on the wall again” rel=”nofollow”>inst which they were stacked. The fire brigade
in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator draws your attention to various fire patterns in” rel=”nofollow”>in and around this area which suggest to him that this may be a poin” rel=”nofollow”>int of fire origin” rel=”nofollow”>in. You also note:

– the severity and extent of the fire at this location
– various directional in” rel=”nofollow”>indicators suggestin” rel=”nofollow”>ing fire spread from this area
– deformation of the roof and walls of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
– electrical cablin” rel=”nofollow”>ing passin” rel=”nofollow”>ing through this area

On this basis, you also form a prelimin” rel=”nofollow”>inary view that this may be a poin” rel=”nofollow”>int of fire origin” rel=”nofollow”>in.

The police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner notes some distin” rel=”nofollow”>inctive burn patterns on the floor adjacent the remain” rel=”nofollow”>ins of the pallets which he suggests may have been caused by a liquid accelerant bein” rel=”nofollow”>ing poured at
this location. You also note an irregular trail like pattern on the floor at this location and an in” rel=”nofollow”>inverted cone pattern of fire damage on the adjacent wall.

Within” rel=”nofollow”>in the production section of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, you observe two rows of electric powered machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines which appear to comprise two production lin” rel=”nofollow”>ines. Each production lin” rel=”nofollow”>ine consists of four machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines that
are aligned along the eastern and western walls respectively. You examin” rel=”nofollow”>ine the row of machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines along the western wall and observe that there has been significant dismantlin” rel=”nofollow”>ing of two of the machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines
in” rel=”nofollow”>in that the covers are open and various components are scattered on the floor. You also note that various items have been stored amongst the machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines in” rel=”nofollow”>in this row, in” rel=”nofollow”>includin” rel=”nofollow”>ing chairs, a motor bike
wheel, newspapers, boxes of clothin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, a fan, and a radio/CD. The row of machin” rel=”nofollow”>ines along the east wall is much tidier however the third machin” rel=”nofollow”>ine has its cover open and some components have been
removed. There are tools on the ground next to this machin” rel=”nofollow”>ine along with what appears to be main” rel=”nofollow”>intenance manual.

You observe an electrical distribution cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inet located again” rel=”nofollow”>inst the eastern wall. The door of the cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inet is open and you observe what appears to be electrician’s yellow tags fixed to some of the
circuit breakers on the distribution board. While the board has been subject to sootin” rel=”nofollow”>ing durin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the fire, you are still able to determin” rel=”nofollow”>ine that a number of the circuit breakers appear to be in” rel=”nofollow”>in the
tripped position. You are also able to read a legend taped to the in” rel=”nofollow”>inside of the cabin” rel=”nofollow”>inet door that identifies the various circuit breakers and the circuits that they supply within” rel=”nofollow”>in the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing.

At the southern end of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing, you observe another area approximately 20m x 10m contain” rel=”nofollow”>inin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the charred remnants of timber pallets that have been burnt in” rel=”nofollow”>in the fire. This area is believed by
you to be the fin” rel=”nofollow”>inished goods section of the premises and the pallets are also coated with melted plastic. Again” rel=”nofollow”>in, you are able to estimate the number of pallets present prior to the fire from the
area of the residue and damage patterns on the adjacent wall. You observe that the area between these pallets and those at the northern end of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing contain” rel=”nofollow”>ins a number of combustible item
that have not suffered any direct fire damage. You also note that while the skylights above each of the pallet stacks have been consumed by the fire, those between are in” rel=”nofollow”>in tact, albeit smoke
damaged. You therefore form a prelimin” rel=”nofollow”>inary view that the burnt pallets at the southern end of the buildin” rel=”nofollow”>ing may constitute a second poin” rel=”nofollow”>int of fire origin” rel=”nofollow”>in.

Again” rel=”nofollow”>in, the police and fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators note some distin” rel=”nofollow”>inctive burn patterns on the floor adjacent to the pallet stack which they suggest may be in” rel=”nofollow”>indicative of a liquid accelerant pour. You
also observe an irregular trail like burn pattern on the floor leadin” rel=”nofollow”>ing away from the pallets as a result of which you form a prelimin” rel=”nofollow”>inary view that a liquid accelerant may have been trailed towards
the pallets. When the in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators prise up some of the molten plastic residue coverin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the pallets, there is a strong hydrocarbon odour emitted.

In addition to the above pallet stacks, you observe a large quantity of pallets contain” rel=”nofollow”>inin” rel=”nofollow”>ing plastic cups stacked to the west of the fin” rel=”nofollow”>inished goods area, and identified on the factory plan as the
“workers rest and meal area”; these pallets are crammed tightly again” rel=”nofollow”>inst the western wall and appear to have been stacked in” rel=”nofollow”>in a random fashion. The police and fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators note some
distin” rel=”nofollow”>inctive burn patterns on the floor, around the base of this pallet stack, which they suggest are in” rel=”nofollow”>indicative of a liquid accelerant pour there is no fire damage to the pallets or plastic cups
evident. You observe an irregular trail like pattern on the floor and also form a prelimin” rel=”nofollow”>inary view that a liquid accelerant may have been trailed towards this area as well. You follow this pattern
towards where the trail like patterns from the two burnt stacks of pallets appear to in” rel=”nofollow”>intersect. You examin” rel=”nofollow”>ine the floor in” rel=”nofollow”>in the general area and observe the burnt remain” rel=”nofollow”>ins of three matches. You also
observe a partially melted red plastic contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner approximately 2 metres from the burnt matches and detect an odour remin” rel=”nofollow”>iniscent of petrol in” rel=”nofollow”>in the uncapped openin” rel=”nofollow”>ing of the contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner. An unburnt black
cap is present on the floor approximately 1 metre from the contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner. You draw the attention of the police and fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators to the contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner and cap. You then photograph the matches,
contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner and contain” rel=”nofollow”>iner cap in” rel=”nofollow”>in situ before they are removed as exhibits by the police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner.

The police crime scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>iner and fire brigade in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator advise you that they have completed their fire scene examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination and that they will be advisin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the officer in” rel=”nofollow”>in charge that control of
the premises can be returned to the owners. You contact the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance company claims officer from whom you received your in” rel=”nofollow”>instructions and advise them of your observations to date. You in” rel=”nofollow”>indicate that
it will be necessary to secure the scene followin” rel=”nofollow”>ing departure of police to enable you to conduct a more detailed examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination and collect various samples for analysis. In the same conversation, the
claims officer advises you she has learnt that the prin” rel=”nofollow”>incipal of the in” rel=”nofollow”>insured company contacted their underwritin” rel=”nofollow”>ing department two months prior to the fire, to in” rel=”nofollow”>increase the total sum in” rel=”nofollow”>insured on the
busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness from $2 million to $4 million, because “busin” rel=”nofollow”>iness was goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing so well” and they had purchased additional high cost machin” rel=”nofollow”>inery. In considerin” rel=”nofollow”>ing such an in” rel=”nofollow”>increase in” rel=”nofollow”>in the sum in” rel=”nofollow”>insured and in” rel=”nofollow”>in view of
your in” rel=”nofollow”>initial observations, the claims officer advises you that in” rel=”nofollow”>insurers will now be appoin” rel=”nofollow”>intin” rel=”nofollow”>ing solicitors to advise them in” rel=”nofollow”>in relation to any potential claim and that you shall be receivin” rel=”nofollow”>ing further
in” rel=”nofollow”>instructions overnight in” rel=”nofollow”>in this regard.

A security guard organized by the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance company subsequently arrives at the scene. You ensure the scene is properly secured and in” rel=”nofollow”>instruct the security guard to prevent any persons enterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
without your consent and leave the scene.

You receive a letter overnight from Johnson Willis Lawyers of 50 Bourke Street, Melbourne confirmin” rel=”nofollow”>ing that they have been appoin” rel=”nofollow”>inted by Orange Insurance Limited and in” rel=”nofollow”>instructin” rel=”nofollow”>ing you to address your
report to them so that they may advise their client on any potential liability under their in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance policy with Greens Plastic Cup and Caterin” rel=”nofollow”>ing Supplies Pty Ltd. A copy of the expert witness code
of conduct is appended to the letter and you are in” rel=”nofollow”>instructed to prepare your report in” rel=”nofollow”>in accordance with it.

You return to the premises the followin” rel=”nofollow”>ing mornin” rel=”nofollow”>ing for the purpose of conductin” rel=”nofollow”>ing your detailed examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination of the scene. You carefully document, photograph and otherwise record all physical evidence
that you will subsequently rely upon to formulate your hypotheses as to the origin” rel=”nofollow”>in, cause and responsibility for the fire. You also collect a number of samples for specialist examin” rel=”nofollow”>ination/analysis
to test your hypotheses; the reports from the specialists subsequently arrive and you commence the preparation of your report as in” rel=”nofollow”>instructed.
Rationale
Fire in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators rely on relevant contractual and legislation guidelin” rel=”nofollow”>ines within” rel=”nofollow”>in which they must work to ensure that any evidence they gather is admissible in” rel=”nofollow”>in court. Those who encounter the scenes
of suspected in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance fraud-related fires need to gather sufficient physical and circumstantial evidence to formulate and adequately test hypotheses that the fire was in” rel=”nofollow”>incendiary in” rel=”nofollow”>in nature, and
that a person with an in” rel=”nofollow”>insurable in” rel=”nofollow”>interest lit or caused the fire to be lit, before the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurer can deny liability by applyin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the relevant exclusion clause in” rel=”nofollow”>in the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance contract. The outcome of
any subsequent civil litigation therefore often depends to a large extent on the methodology adopted by the in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator and their ability to present sufficient evidence, within” rel=”nofollow”>in their area of
expertise, to enable the court to determin” rel=”nofollow”>ine liability on the balance of probability.
Rationale
Fire in” rel=”nofollow”>investigators rely on relevant contractual and legislation guidelin” rel=”nofollow”>ines within” rel=”nofollow”>in which they must work to ensure that any evidence they gather is admissible in” rel=”nofollow”>in court. Those who encounter the scenes
of suspected in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance fraud-related fires need to gather sufficient physical and circumstantial evidence to formulate and adequately test hypotheses that the fire was in” rel=”nofollow”>incendiary in” rel=”nofollow”>in nature, and
that a person with an in” rel=”nofollow”>insurable in” rel=”nofollow”>interest lit or caused the fire to be lit, before the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurer can deny liability by applyin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the relevant exclusion clause in” rel=”nofollow”>in the in” rel=”nofollow”>insurance contract. The outcome of
any subsequent civil litigation therefore often depends to a large extent on the methodology adopted by the in” rel=”nofollow”>investigator and their ability to present sufficient evidence, within” rel=”nofollow”>in their area of
expertise, to enable the court to determin” rel=”nofollow”>ine liability on the balance of probability.

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