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Forensic Fire Death Investigation
by IAPS Admin - Sunday, January 10, 2010, 04:51 AM

Forensic Fire Death Investigation

One of Forensic TV’s film crew just returned from a week of filming in the California central coast town of San Luis Obispo. Cutting edge and state of the art training was conducted with the topic being Forensic Fire Death Investigation. Inter-agency teamwork involving experts from multiple related disciplines was the focal point of the five-day class.

Team members included fire investigators, sheriffs’ detectives, sheriffs’ coroners, forensic scientists, criminologists, California Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, (MAIT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), anthropologists and even archeologists. Each team was assigned to investigate one of eight different fire scene scenarios. Incidents included a small aircraft into a building (dropped from a hundred foot crane), two automobile scenes (one of these also being dropped from the crane), a kitchen fire, a bedroom fire, a living room fire and fire involving a trailer. All the students had the opportunity to view each scene, and listened to the other investigative teams explain how their particular scene was processed.

Forensic TV recorded each scene not only on high definition videotape, but they also captured thousands of still images inside and out. Also used were multiple heat sensors inside the fire involved areas from start to finish. Data collected from this event will prove invaluable to future investigations around the country and even internationally.

Instructors in this class are some of the nations best in their fields of expertise, included;

- Elayne Pope, Ph.D, Forensic Anthropologist, Univ. of West Florida - John DeHaan, Ph.D, author of Kirk’s Fire Investigation. - Jim Allen, CSFM Supervising Arson/Bomb Investigator (Ret.), Renowned National/International Lecturer - Dr. Gary Walter, Board Certified Clinical Pathologist & Anatomic Pathologist, King County, Tulare County & SLO County. - Scott Peterson, California Highway Patrol, MAIT - Joe Konefal, Supervising Arson & Bomb Investigator, CA. State Fire Marshals Office (Ret.), Consultant on Mythbusters TV Show - Jeff Nichols, San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Dept., Coroners Office - Debra Eckrote, Deputy Chief, National Transportation Safety Board - Steven Crawford, Sr. Deputy Coroner, San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Dept. - Dr. Gary Hatch, Radiologist from San Luis Obispo Diagnostics

John Madden, San Luis Obispo City Fire Department Fire Inspector/Investigator, managed the team that organized and hosted this event for the second straight year, which was no easy task to say the least. So many agencies are involved on the local, state and federal level and bringing all those agencies together to put this kind of training event on is also part of the learning process.

We here at Forensic TV feel fortunate to have established a professional relationship with Investigator Madden, his team of training experts and the students who participated in the class. We look forward to being involved in his future training exercises around the country. If you would like contact John regarding this training event, or any other topic, he can be reached at

Please be sure to keep an eye out on the Forensic TV website ( for videos related to this training event in the very near future. On Forensic TV our members will be able to watch and learn from this spectacular training event.