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Legal News in Minnesota

Fire Investigations–Origin and Cause Analysis

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fires in the United States in 2012 resulted in an estimated $11.5 billion in direct property loss. With the staggering exposure to life and property, the cause of every fire and exposure must be carefully investigated. The recent fires in Madelia highlight not only the loss in terms of property, but loss to a community.

Fire investigation is sometimes referred to as the origin and cause of fire investigation.  It is the analysis of fire-related incidents in an attempt to determine the origin and cause of a fire or explosion. Fire investigations are extremely complex and difficult because the fire often destroys the key evidence of its origin. Many fires are caused by defective equipment. Fire investigators look at the fire remains attempting to obtain information to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the fire. Fires can be caused by and involve many ignition sources and fuels. Fire investigators need to know not only the science of fire behavior, but also have a working understanding of many other areas of study including construction, electricity, mechanical devices and human behavior.

Spoliation is the destruction or alteration of evidence. The mere act of extinguishing the fire can destroy potential evidence and compromise the investigation.

Often times the investigation involves not only fire officials, but insurance carriers that provide liability and property insurance coverage for the buildings involved.

The origin and cause of the fire is essential in pursuing a liability or subrogation claim.  For more information contact Farrish Johnson Law Office at 507-625-2525.

Scott Kelly
Farrish Johnson Law Office