FOCUS Fire Investigations
Fire Origin and Cause Using Science
Health & Safety
Even in the times today that COVID waxes and wanes we at FOCUS will still consider it important to take appropriate precautions to protect ourselves and others anytime we are outside of our own home.
The same health and safety practices FOCUS has always taken at fire scenes apply to any public meeting we may be a part of today.
FOCUS can safely document any scene: fire, water, wind, other structural damage thereby limiting the time you need to spend on the scene.
The mission of FOCUS Fire Investigations is to provide its clients with the highest quality fire origin and cause investigation available to most correctly suit the needs of the client.
FOCUS Fire Investigations will use science to provide the most appropriate conclusions for any investigation.
FOCUS Fire Investigations will not compromise integrity of our investigations to win a case, we will give you scientific results.FOCUS Fire Investigations will not seek additional examinations when they are not warranted, we will help you pursue justifiable cases.
What is the difference between a
A Fire Investigator investigates fires.
A Fire Investigator may classify a fire as an incendiary fire which may then lead to the crime charge of Arson - but it wont be a crime until a jury decides it is.
Therefore there is no such thing as an Arson Investigator.
The International Association of Arson Investigators has contemplated may times changing the term "Arson" in the name but there are several reasons that it has not been changed.
States FOCUS Fire Investigations currently practices in:
Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming
(coming soon to Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas) waiting on licensing
Industrial Origin and Cause
Automatic Suppression Systems
Kitchen Hoods, Paint Booths,
Fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems
Hazardous Material related fires
Documentation of any incident scene (not just fires!)
Real Estate venturesSpecialization
Cigarettes always make gasoline blow up!
Alligatoring - bigger and deeper means accelerants were used
It was a hot, fast fire; they had to use gasoline
Spalled concrete means they used an accelerantFAQ's (aka) Myths and Legends
Sagging furniture springs mean the fire was really hot so they had to use gasoline
Low burning is a sign of Arson
Patterns on carpet means they poured gasoline!
News Bits of Interest
FOCUS started out as a private fire investigation company giving clients the real interpretation of their case.
As time progressed FOCUS found more and more need to provide analysis of other fire events and thus has expanded services to just that. An analysis of fire events and the reports generated by others.
It is stated several times on our webpages and in our literature that FOCUS will not make your case, we will however provide you with the best fire investigation data to provide you with the best outcome of your case.
FOCUS Fire Investigations, LLC
Fire Origin and Cause Using Science
FOCUS Fire Investigations is a privately owned and operated expert fire origin and cause investigation company providing you with Certified Fire Investigators (IAAI-CFI/ECT) who will "FOCUS" on your fire investigation, analysis, and consulting needs to achieve the best outcome of your case.
In addition to following NFPA 921 - Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations; FOCUS Fire Investigators follow NFPA 1033 - Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, and will be following NFPA 1321 - Standard for Fire Investigation Units when it is published. (FOCUS owner, Kevin, currently sits as an alternate on the 1321 committee)
We provide services to Colorado, Idaho, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. We can also handle your cases in Alaska, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. We are soon to be expanding to Arizona, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas (we cannot yet accept cases in these states). Depending on specific state licensing requirements, we can also handle cases in other states. Contact us to find out if we can handle your case.
FOCUS can handle all your fire investigation needs including the original scene inspection, joint scene exams, evidence collection, case review and case analysis, deposition and expert courtroom testimony.
The FOCUS team has experience in all fields of fire investigation:
FOCUS fire investigators have all spent time in the public sector and understand complex incident command and case management.
FOCUS can easily handle your complex fire investigations involving multiple parties. (However; We won't turn a simple case into a complex one)
FOCUS Fire Investigators are retired firefighters and fighting fires allows us to see and understand how fire progresses. If you haven't seen the beast up close and in person it's difficult to understand it, FOCUS investigators understand the beast.
TEACHING / MENTORING
The FOCUS Fire Investigation team members are the investigators teaching other investigators about fire investigation from the basics for new investigators to advanced topics including burn cells.
We tailor the training to the audience; investigators, adjustors, legal councils, insureds... so that you get the best out of the training.
Prevention is always better than investigations. At FOCUS we will educate our clients and insureds about fire safety to avoid similar future incidents.
Prevention is the key to reducing risk.
The FOCUS team specializes in fires involving Automatic Extinguishing Systems (such as kitchen hood and paint booth systems) and structures with fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems, as well as Hazardous Materials.
BACK TO THE BASICS
Root Cause Analysis of the ignition is the ultimate key in determining who, or what, is responsible for any fire or explosion event. FOCUS will help you determine that root cause; not just what it may have been.
(Maybe, is not proper science!)
The job isn't done until the paperwork is done! It doesn't matter how incredible of an investigation you have done, it its not followed up with proper and complete paperwork it will fall apart. FOCUS provided detailed documentation of all investigation scene whether it is a simple 'no-report' fire or a case ready for court presentation.
The FOCUS team documents the incident scene through drawings, diagrams, interviews, photographs, and Matterport 3D imaging.
A LinkedIn blog designed for professional growth and engaging topics related to fire investigation and fire prevention with a new topic weekly.
FOCUS on Sliding By
I had a friend go through an interview a few days ago for a building inspector’s position with a fast growing city and as we discussed how he thought he did he told me one questions was “When is it OK to let violations slide by?”
He assumed (as did I) that it was a trick question from the interview board. It turns out that the board was serious. My friend asked for a clarification of what they meant by “slide by”. They told him that they are so overwhelmed with inspections from the staggering growth that there are certain inspections and some items in inspections that need to be let go of and not be pursued. He told them he would not let anything slide by, that all inspections needed to be handled and all corrective actions needed to be noted and followed up on. He’s not sure if that was the answer they were looking for, if he answered it right or wrong in their view. Whether that was the reason or other there were other reasons, he wasn’t offered the position. I told him I thought he answered the question correctly and we discussed a few scenarios of sliding by.
I’ll pose the question to you. What would you let slide by during an inspection?
As he and I discussed it and pondered the ethics of it, I reiterated that I wouldn’t let anything slide by. With that said when I was on the fire department and doing inspections everything I found was written up, I wouldn’t let things slide by. I’ll use the 2018 IFC since that’s what I’m most familiar with. Section 101.3 says the purpose of the code is to “establish the minimum requirements” for life safety and property protection. Section 104.1 provides for the enforcement with the “intent and purpose” of the code. Section 101.3 laid out the purpose. The intent is to keep things safe. It is the intent part that, in my opinion, allows for some leeway, interpretation, and “sliding by”. My favorite example of intent in the fire code is extension cords. You are not supposed to use them for several things, one of which is permanent wiring. There were many times I during my course of doing inspections I found extension cords being used as permanent wiring. Powering adding machines, cash registers, table lamps, battery chargers, heavy duty industrial metal presses…..WAIT…. heavy duty industrial metal presses? Yes! I found a metal press plugged into an extension cord. The tenant tried to tell me it was only temporary use because they only plugged it in when they needed it (which, with asking a few more questions, I found out was every day). On top of the everyday use, the mixer’s power cord used 10 gauge wires and the extension cord (with tenant modified plug ends) was 14 gauge wires. Um, NO! I required that the mixer cord be plugged directly into an appropriate receptacle.
I always wrote up the extension cord violations including the adding machines. It may take me ‘while’ to get around to enforcement of some. The intent of the code is to keep the equipment from drawing more current that the extension cord is rated for thus overheating and causing a fire. A phone charger with 26 gauge wires is very unlikely to overload a 16 gauge extension cord. I didn’t let them “slide by”. It just went a little further down the enforcement priority list.
What would you let “slide by”? Don’t limit yourself to codes rather think about being the company leader. What about the best producer your company? What would you let him/her “slide by” with? Coming in late? Taking long breaks? Using company property for personal use? Criticizing other employees?
Share some stories about times you have let things slide by or times you have seen others do the same.
We have more than 35 years in the fire service and over 20 of that in fire investigations, all fire investigators at FOCUS are IAAI-CFI ®
FOCUS Fire Investigations has the experience and training handle any of your fire and explosion needs. We can handle the very simple incident to complex incidents. Years of fire service has taught us complex incident management, but we will not turn a simple fire into a complex one.
FOCUS Fire Investigations will NOT “make your case”! We will find the best solutions for your case using real data and the science behind fire.
FOCUS team members all meet the NFPA 1033 standard qualifications and follow NFPA 921 and the Scientific Method, as well as other well accepted fire investigation books. All have contributed to NFPA, and FOCUS’s owner and chief investigator is a contributing author and editor to Fire Investigator—Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033, 5th edition.
At FOCUS we love to burn things to learn how the fire really started and progressed. We won't guess at an ignition, we will prove it with research and experiments when necessary, hence the name FOCUS—Fire Origin and Cause Using Science.
We will FOCUS on your incident so you can FOCUS on your case
meet the team
Kevin Crawford started his fire service career as a volunteer with the Vail (Colorado) Fire Department in 1980, then as a fulltime firefighter in 1983 when he started with the Provo (Utah) Fire Department. After a few years with Provo he discovered his passion for fire investigations and in 2003 Kevin retired from Provo to become a Fire Investigator with the Fire Prevention Division of North Metro Fire Rescue District in Broomfield, Colorado. Since that time Kevin’s fire service career has included fire prevention activities, life safety education, training, and conducting fire investigations in both the public and private sector.
Retiring after 34 years of public fire service in 2017, he continued his fire investigation career as a private sector fire investigator eventually starting his own company, FOCUS Fire Investigations, serving the Rocky Mountains region in Colorado and Utah until moving to North Carolina. He has conducted and assisted in origin and cause investigations for insurance companies, manufacturers and legal counsels.
Kevin also presents and teaches classes on fire investigations, NFPA 921, interviewing, and fire training. His favorite training is conducting live burns which assist fire investigators in understanding how and why the fire did what it did.
He is a past Training Coordinator and President of the Colorado Chapter and past Director of the International Association of Arson Investigators. In addition to Director he served as the Chairman of the IAAI’s Health and Safety Committee and currently serves on the Ethical Practices and Grievances Committee.
Kevin and Carrie currently live near Charlotte, North Carolina, where they are close to kids and grandkids.
Glen Powell started his fire service career in 1983 when he joined a small volunteer fire department. Interestingly, one of the first classes Glen attended was the off campus version of the National Fire Academy’s Fire/Arson Detection; Glen has had an interest in fire investigation ever since.
In 1992, Glen began what would be an almost 28-year career with Pocatello (Idaho) Fire Department. During his career Glen held positions as firefighter/EMT, driver/operator, company officer, and code enforcement officer among others. Throughout his career, and as Captain of the Fire Prevention Bureau, Glen was able to continue training and gaining experience in the fire investigation discipline. In 2008, Glen became a full-time member of the departments fire investigation team. In 2016, Glen became a Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) through the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), and in 2020 gained certification as a Certified Instructor, also with the IAAI. Glen enjoys sharing knowledge of fire investigation with others, particularly those just getting started in the field.
Glen has been a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators and the Idaho Chapter since 2011; A member of both the Nevada and Utah Chapters since 2018. Glen served on the Idaho Chapter training committee from 2015-2016, was elected 2nd Vice President in 2017; 1st Vice President in 2018, then Chapter President in 2019. Glen has attended each IAAI International Training Conference (ITC) since joining the Association. (2020 & 2021 conferences cancelled due to COVID)
Glen is married to his wife Joni of 28 years. They enjoy traveling, visiting with friends and family, and especially attending the International Association of Arson Investigator’s International Training Conference each year!
*FOCUS does not guarantee posting of training opportunities.
Preference given to training and certification bodies
Training must be fire investigation related (in our opinion)