Most fire investigators investigate wood-framed building fires or those involving appliances. Their exposure to explosions or process equipment fires can be limited as they only deal with those as the exception.
Explosions and process-related fires are our everyday business. That’s because we focus on industrial processes and the oil and gas industry in particular. When that equipment breaks, pressurized flammable gases or liquids are released. When they are, it is generally a matter of when it will ignite rather then if, and the results are often explosive.
Our experience and knowledge of mechanical systems, oilfield, and chemical processes, combined with our understanding of the indicators left behind in an explosion and fire gives us the advantage in identifying the sequence of failure post-fire to identify the initiating event.
We have particular experience in dealing with processes that use instrument gas systems (produced gas) for control versus instrument air. These incidents bring an additional layer of complexity to a fire or explosion investigation as most control elements fail and contribute to the fire rather than being a passive victim of the fire.
Our staff maintain a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) certification with the National Associated of FIre Investigators (NAFI) and have a working knowledge of both NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921. Our engineering background means we use engineering and science based investigation processes and helps us avoid using the bad science common in the fire investigation world.