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California Arson & Fire Investigations

What Does a Fire and Arson Investigator Do?


When a fire or explosion occurs, Garrett Forensics’ team of Fire and Arson Investigators are well-equipped and highly trained to examine the incident site, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to gather all available evidence for their fire investigation report. Their mission is to uncover whether the fire resulted from an accidental event, a deliberate act, mechanical or electrical failures, or a natural occurrence but also considers the potential for subrogation, ensuring that the complexities of these situations are expertly addressed.


Garrett’s Fire & Arson experts are committed to providing scientifically rigorous investigations into fire and explosion incidents. Our Fire Investigators adhere to the guidelines set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which are widely regarded as the gold standard for conducting precise and well-informed analyses of these events.


Their depth of knowledge, combined with their commitment to scientific rigor, ensures that their findings are not only accurate but also capable of withstanding scrutiny in various contexts, including legal proceedings and insurance claims. Our objective  is to provide clarity and resolution, whether for insurance claims, litigation, or simply enhancing the understanding of these events to prevent future occurrences.


Fire & Arson Investigation Types


What is Arson?

In cases of arson fires, the investigation becomes particularly complex and challenging, as the determination of both the cause and origin is crucial in uncovering whether the fire was the result of a deliberate, intentional act. Garrett’s team of Fire Investigators is well-versed in conducting meticulous and thorough examinations in these situations, drawing on their expertise and experience to shed light on the intricate details of the incident.

Determining Deliberate Acts

Arson investigations require a meticulous analysis of the fire’s behavior, patterns, and any evidence of accelerants or incendiary devices. Our investigators carefully scrutinize the scene, searching for telltale signs that the fire was deliberately set. This can involve examining fire patterns, assessing burn marks, and collecting samples for laboratory analysis to identify potential accelerants.

Discovery of Insurance Fraud Related to Arson

In addition to determining the cause and origin of the fire, the work of our investigators can also contribute to uncovering instances of insurance fraud. In cases where arson is suspected, our team’s thorough examination and adherence to NFPA 921 guidelines can reveal critical evidence that may be essential in exposing fraudulent insurance claims. This serves to protect the integrity of the insurance industry while also ensuring that claims are justly and accurately assessed.


Vehicle Fires

Garrett’s Fire Investigators are frequently entrusted with the task of examining fires that encompass a diverse range of vehicles, including automobiles, semi-tractor/trailers, buses, boats, and airplanes. In line with our rigorous investigative approach, our experts are dedicated to establishing the cause of these fires, whether they resulted from intentional acts, electrical or mechanical malfunctions, or accidents.


Residential & Commercial Structure Fires

Garrett’s Fire Investigators are highly skilled in the field of fire loss investigations, catering to a diverse range of settings. Whether it’s a single dwelling, a multi-tenant residential structure, or industrial and commercial locations, their expertise extends to all these scenarios.

In the realm of residential structures, they probe the causes and origins of fires, aiming to provide a clear understanding of how and why such incidents occur. Their assessments also involve considering the potential for subrogation, which can be crucial in cases where multiple parties might share liability or responsibility for the incident.

In industrial and commercial settings, where the stakes can be higher, Garrett’s Fire Investigators rise to the challenge. Their timely and accurate investigations are designed to leave no stone unturned when it comes to uncovering the factors that led to a fire. These investigations yield comprehensive insights into the origin and cause of the fire, serving as a valuable resource for all stakeholders, including property owners, insurers, and legal entities.


Electrical Fires

Like any other fire, an electrical fire can lead to explosions, causing even more catastrophic losses, including injury and death.


Looking back at the wiring requirements for homes or businesses two decades ago, there’s a notable difference with today’s standards. This contrast emphasizes the importance of electrical fire investigators possessing extensive knowledge of codes, equipment, and materials. Furthermore, modern businesses face the constant demand for expansive data centers, servers, computers, and other technology, presenting distinct challenges and specific restoration requirements.


Common electrical fire causes include:

-Failures within electrical distribution, lighting, and equipment.

-Faulty, outdated or misused electrical appliances, wiring and components.

-Improper grounding.

-Electrical components/appliances in close proximity to flammable materials.

-Short-circuits, electrical events (lightning storm) or utility incidents in the area.

-High resistance or loose connections

-Server rooms and other digital infrastructure (can create immense heat).


The electrical engineers and fire investigators at Garrett Forensics have the expertise required to navigate the entire forensic investigation process, starting from the initial site inspection to delivering expert courtroom presentations on both subrogation and liability matters. Our investigations encompass multiple disciplines, utilizing expertise in fire science, metallurgy, engineering, and chemistry to identify the root cause of the incident. Garrett’s investigators excel at articulating findings in a clear and concise manner, ensuring easy understanding by various individuals, including adjusters, attorneys, jurors, and judges.

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