Blaze Fire Determined Origin and Cause Without Joint Investigation
Blaze Fire Investigation is now known as Anderson Engineering. (updated 6/28/17)
A fire started in the kitchen of a restaurant. Many artifacts were present that could possibly start a fire including food warmers, microwaves, gas oven and stove, the building wiring system, and light fixtures. A fire suppression system was also in place and may or may not have functioned as designed. Calling in representatives for all of these appliances and electrical systems would be costly and may not be necessary. Was it possible to determine the cause of the fire without destruction of artifacts in the event that a joint scene investigation is warranted?
An electrical engineer from our parent company, Anderson Engineering, was called in to provide additional forensic expertise to examine the debris and artifacts. Working in tandem, the fire investigator and the electrical engineer went through the debris. The Fire Department had examined building components, pieces of wiring and light fixtures as part of their investigation and created a separate artifact pile. In conjunction with a fire suppression expert, the fire investigator and electrical engineer concluded that the fire suppression system did not malfunction. The appliances were examined one by one.
The gas stove had the remains of a gray melted plastic material on it. Through interviews with the restaurant staff, it was determined that at the end of the day, the cook routinely used a plastic bussing bucket to carry soap and water to the griddle for cleaning. The bucket was usually set on the gas stove beside the griddle during cleaning. The pilot light provided a continual source of heat even when the burners were not lit.
The cause of the fire was the plastic bussing bucket that was left on the stove. The water evaporated and the plastic came to combustible temperature and ignited.
THE RESULT FOR OUR CLIENT:
Because of the affiliation of Blaze Fire Investigation with parent company, Anderson Engineering, we were able to consult with an engineer in a timely manner and access the expertise needed to determine origin and cause. Our client was able to confidently determine liability without calling for a costly joint fire investigation.