Investigation of Fires in Structures and Equipment

Online /
Feb 9 - 10, 2022 /
Course Code: 12-0234-ONL22

  • Overview
  • Syllabus
  • Instructor


Please note, This instructor-led course has specific dates and times:
This course is held online over 2 days on the following schedule (All times in Eastern Time Zone):

9:30 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (Will include the usual breaks)

After participating in this course, you will be able to:

  • consider the benefit from and the need for accurate and definitive investigations,
  • learn the necessary approaches to investigation of fires and explosions
  • identify the various requirements for a successful investigation
  • consider the scope and methods of information collection and address the actual procedure through case studies


It is generally recognized that the cause of all accidents should be established. This requirement may be for one or more of several reasons. These reasons include impending litigation, influence of insurers, pressure from statutory bodies, trade and labour organizations and the interest of the general public.

Whatever the reason, the investigation must be planned to meet the identified need. In this course the background of fires investigation will be reviewed. The major aspects of an investigation and the modus operandi of undertaking it, will be described. Preparation and content of the final report will be discussed. Case studies of fire investigations will be presented.

Course Outline

  • Fire Chemistry
  • Origin Determination
  • Burn Patterns
  • Fire Cause Sources of Ignition
  • Investigation Techniques and Procedures
  • Planning the investigation
  • Data Analysis and Testing
  • Case Studies

Who Should Attend

Loss Adjusters • Risk Insurers • Lawyers (Involved In This Area) • Safety Officers • Directors • Engineers With Environmental Health and Safety • Consultants • Forensic Engineers • Plant Management and Supervisory Staff • Individuals Involved in the Following Industries: Chemical, Petrochemical, Petroleum, Insurance, Emergency Services, Process Industries, Waste Disposal, Plastics, Pharmaceutical.

More Information

Time: 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM Eastern Time

Please note: You can check other time zones here.


Day I

Overview of Course

Fire Chemistry

  • Definition
  • Oxidizing agents
  • Fuel Types - Combustion of gases, liquids and solids
  • Fuel Conditioning
  • Ignition
  • Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
  • Behavior and Nature of Fire
  • Fire Tetrahedron
  • Types of Burning (Flames)
  • Point source and homogeneous ignition
  • Stages of Burning
  • Explosions

Origin Determination

Burn Patterns

  • Plume Generated Patterns
  • Pointer and Arrow Patterns
  • Depth of Char
  • Spalling
  • Clean Burn
  • Line or Areas of Demarcation
    Ventilation Generated Patterns
  • Heating Patterns - Metals
  • Fire Spread Analysis

Fire Cause Sources of Ignition

  • Definition
  • Accidental - Heating Equipment
  • Appliances
  • Cooking
  • Careless Smoking
  • Adiabatic Compression
  • Electrical - Demonstration
  • Natural
  • Incendiary -Motive, Opportunity and Method

Day II

Investigation Techniques and Procedures

Planning the investigation

  • Basic equipment for site examination
  • Site Securement
  • Data Collection and Documentation
  • Site Examination
  • Detailed Examinations
  • Securing Evidence -Identification and collection of samples
  • Photography and Documentation

Data Analysis and Testing

  • Scientific method
  • Analyze data
  • Develop Hypothesis
  • Test Hypothesis- burn tests, fire modeling, authoritative literature
  • Computer Fire Modeling

Case Studies

Forbo Arborite Explosion

Case Study Workshop I

Case Study Workshop II



Bob Shirer, B.A.Sc., P.Eng., C.Eng.,

Bob is founder & President of R.J. Shirer & Associates. Since his graduation from the University of Toronto in 1983 with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemical Engineering) degree he has worked as a Research Associate, a Field Engineer in the Waste Recovery Industry, and a Sales/Service Engineer in the Pulp & Paper Industry. Following that, for the last 31 years, he has worked as Forensic Engineer and Manager, conducting Fire Investigations, Accident Reconstructions, Failure Analyses, and a variety of other forensic investigations for the insurance and legal industries.

Bob is a member in good standing of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) and is also designated as a Consulting Engineer by the PEO. He is a Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator (CFEI) and is an active and contributing member to many industry-related professional groups, such as OSPE, CAFI, SFPE, NAFI, IAAI, CATAIR, NAPARS, SAE International, Blue Goose Society, and various others. He also regularly attends training sessions and conferences to keep current with forensic investigation standards and techniques.

Bob has conducted seminars and training courses for various institutions and industry groups, as well as in-house seminars to professionals in the Insurance and Legal Industries. He has been admitted as an expert witness and offered opinion evidence as to the origin & cause of fires, accidents, and other technical matters in Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Manitoba on 34 occasions.

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Fee & Credits

$1295 + taxes

  • 1.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 14 Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
  • ECAA Annual Professional Development Points

Group Training
This course can be customized and delivered to your group of staff at your facility, saving time and money.
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