Fires & Explosions
Industrial and construction equipment often offer multiple possible sources of combustible material and sources of ignition that could cause a fire or explosion. For example, a typical piece of construction equipment has fuel, engine oil, transmission oil, brake system oil, hydraulic fluid, and exhaust systems, and residues all in close proximity to one another and to multiple possible ignition sources. Thus, analyzing equipment fires requires both expertise in fire investigation and knowledge of how the equipment itself operates in order to conduct a full investigation. Many of ARCCA’s experts are both engineering experts and fire investigators, making them capable of taking on these complex investigations. Fire Cause: Fire Cause is the determination of the conditions necessary to result in a fire or an explosion related to combustion. From basic fire science, we know that in order for combustion to occur, there needs to be fuel, heat, an oxidizing agent, and conditions that allow for an uninhibited chemical chain reaction. During a fire cause investigation, ARCCA’s investigators identify those four requirements for combustion. It should be noted that determination of fire cause is different from the determination of fire origin. Fire Origin: Fire Origin is the determination of where a fire or an explosion likely started. In certain conditions, the causes of a fire may not all be located at the area in which it is believed to have started. Fire origin investigators use a variety of methodologies to determine origin, including fire patterning, fire dynamics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, timeline analysis, witness interviews/ statements, arc mapping, and analysis of photographs, videos or other media.
Vehicle Fires: There are several systems within a motor vehicle that can be potential causes of fire or explosions. ARCCA engineers and fire investigators are experienced in investigating vehicle fires including passenger cars, passenger trucks, commercial trucks, heavy vehicle trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, boats and ATV/UTVs. Building Fires: There are several systems necessary for the comfort, habitation, and utility/function of a building. However, many of these building systems can be potential causes of a fire or explosion. ARCCA engineers understand the operating principles of building systems and are experienced in investigating fires in any type of building, including residential, commercial, industrial, petroleum/chemical distribution, maritime, construction, and agricultural buildings. Industrial or Construction Equipment Fires: Many types of industrial and construction equipment operate with electromechanical systems or electromechanical/pneumatic systems. ARCCA engineers have experience in all of the different system types, which enables them to provide accurate determinations of cause when investigating industrial or construction equipment fires. Explosions: Explosions can be the result of combustion, chemical reaction, or mechanical failure. For combustion or fire-related explosions, ARCCA engineers and fire investigators investigate the explosion much like a fire (i.e. explosion cause and explosion origin) using many of the same methodologies. For chemical reaction or mechanical failure explosions, ARCCA engineers use engineering principles and practice to determine the structural capabilities of the pressurized tank or tank systems and compare them to the actual conditions that the tank or tank systems were subjected to in order to identify the cause.
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