INVESTIGATIVE ENGINEERING FORENSICS
Metropolitan Environmental Services
Fire, Forensic Investigations, Fire Investigations
Fire has been defined by the courts as "combustion sufficient enough to produce a spark, flame or glow." By definition, a fire is not smoke or charring. A claim we had was quite interesting, tenants left for a weekend, an owners' policy changed from one insurer to another and a fire occurred at 3 am the day of the new policy. We found compelling evidence that once the event progressed to a "glow", the fire would have spread quickly, therefore the fire occurred the day of the new policy.
Over the years, the courts have distinguished between "friendly" and "hostile" fire. A friendly fire is one that burns where it was intended to burn: a flame on a gas stove; a fire in a fireplace; fire in an outdoor grill.
Metropolitan determines if a fire is hostile to make the adjusters job easier to interpret the policy. A hostile fire is one that burns where it was not intended to burn: the living room drapes; the cabinets above the stove; a deck near the outdoor grill. Many policies cover only direct damage caused by hostile fire. Metropolitan is often called to assess the cause and origin of soot damage. Metropolitan has found many sources responsible for soot damage ranging from air pollution, furnaces, wood stoves, tobacco, candles and gas fired fire places.
Metropolitan uses NFPA 921 guidelines to fully substantiate subrogation claims. Proper handling of the evidence is important in recovery as well as a thorough adherence to accepted procedures. We recently found a fire caused by faulty can light installations. When we checked other installations outside of the area of origin we found 4 others had defects that were causing charring.
, Fire Investigations
, Forensic Investigations