Maine Holds Fire Investigation Training Seminar

June 15, 2005

The Maine Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and Northeast Region of the International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI) held a first in the field of Marine Fire Investigation in Wells, recently.

The training seminar, attended by 83 fire investigators, claims personnel, marine surveyors and other marine related investigators, focused on pleasure vessel fire and arson investigation. The two-day seminar included presentations by the United States Coast Guard (USCG); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire Arms and Explosives (ATFE); Maine State and local law enforcement units as well as instruction by Dan Roy and Rick Sheppard of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office; Daniel Rutherford, IAMI-CMI of Ocean Marine Specialties Inc., of Cape May, N.J. and Arthur Murphy, Jr. of MAZE Consultants and Investigations Inc., of Georgetown, Mass.

“This training was a first in joint cooperation between IAAI and IAMI, two organizations who share similar goals and charges”, said Roy, Maine Chapter IAAI president and senior investigator for the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office. “Bringing the expertise of marine professionals together with fire investigators exemplifies the team approach to fire investigation.”

The training included 10 set marine fire scenes, one boat explosion scene and one live boat burn conducted during the seminar. Teams comprised of investigators from as far away as California, Texas, Canada and the Caribbean did full mock up investigations of each scene and reported the findings to the seminar on day two.

After each “report” a video and slide presentation was given to the group showing exactly what was used to start the fire as well as the area of origin for each fire to balance against the field observations. Most, if not all, of the teams showed just how valuable the team approach, training and experience becomes in these situations by determining every area of origin and nearly every cause.

Sponsors of the IAAI-IAMI training included: the Maine Chapter IAAI, International Association of Marine Investigators, the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office and Progressive Insurance Company.

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