When a fire happens, investigations are necessary, and when handled professionally, it helps determine the cause of the fire. Usually, people think that talking to their insurance company is next, but a simple investigation should be conducted. This could go for up to two weeks, and the process of a fire investigation is almost always the same.
HOW DOES A FIRE INVESTIGATION WORK?
Fire investigators conduct rather scientific research. In countries like the USA, investigators must possess the National Fire Protection Association qualification to certify them as a fire investigator. When an investigation begins, it is almost always the fire scene. To ensure the scene’s safety and protect the evidence chain. These investigations are sometimes conducted under suspicious claims, so the whole site or property is a potential crime scene.
In addition to this, the security of the crime scene must be a priority. The fire investigator wants to keep the area of origin of fire under investigation from obstructions, thus safeguarding potential evidence. Experts should be in the area almost immediately. They work with the fire department to prevent a loss of evidence. Since firefighters use fire hose sprayers, the high pressure coming from the equipment could tamper with evidence.
Secondly, investigating fire causes, especially in cases of arson, is not always straightforward. The cause of the fire is a starting point. If the fire damage is massive, evidence could be lost. The job of an arson investigator is to piece together the series of events leading to such fires. Therefore, an arson investigation goes beyond burn patterns, issues, claim, or even smoke. Primarily the origin of big fires helps narrow down the case. A look at the building could help an investigator target all the relevant factors. An arsonist will often trace accelerants and take samples from scenes while relying on other investigators’ analysis (gas chromatography).
After this, the next step is mostly about data collection procedures. They collect samples with tags for reference, while making a full report. Depending on their findings, investigators may decide to invite law enforcement bodies for further investigations. However, before anything, authorities may gather information. By asking a question, talking to witnesses or victims, and making inquiries from individuals. Also, they may take statements from the owners of the property or company. If arson is suspected, a suspect may be charged and taken to court where evidence is presented, and interested parties discuss the issue.
On the other hand, if the affected person is insured, they must present their facts before insurance companies or insurers. At this point, contacting your adjuster may be necessary. Complicated cases may drag for as long as a month to longer durations.
All fire investigations have similar proceedings. They are mostly straightforward. However, if it involves enormous losses, the process could go on for a more extended period. But small fires are investigated within a week or maybe a little bit longer.