Phone: (UK +44) 0113 4677 145 | (IRE +353) 01209 1963 | Email: info@regentfire.co.uk | info@regentfire.ie

Regent Fire Consultants, UK & Ireland

FORENSIC INVESTIGATION

Fires and explosions along with escapes of water, oil and gas can cause devastating damage to property and the environment, which can potentially have a huge financial impact on individuals, organisations and the insurance sector.

OVERVIEW

Through technical expertise gained over many years, Regent Fire Consultants can offer our clients comprehensive independent forensic investigation services into the origin and cause of incidents such as fires, explosions and escapes of water and oil. While the majority of instructions to investigate these incidents are by insurance companies (or their appointed Adjusters/Solicitors), Regent Fire Consultants also offer our expertise to public bodies such as the Fire and Rescue Service and the local Policing Authority/An Garda Siochana. We also provide independent impartial advice to private clients in circumstances where one of these incidents has occurred but no Insurance policy was in place at the time of the incident.

FIRES & EXPLOSIONS

A detailed forensic investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances surrounding a fire or explosion incident can provide Insurers, businesses and property owners/occupants with a wealth of information when trying to understand the sequence of events which resulted in the incident. Based on this information, our clients can assess how the incident occurred, implement measures to prevent such an incident from occurring again thereby improving safety and identify if a viable route exists where a recovery of financial losses against a third party can be pursued.

Fire and explosion investigations occupy a considerable portion of our work and expertise. Our qualified and experienced team adopt an in-depth methodical approach when determining origin and cause. Our investigative methodology begins from the moment of our instruction and includes:

Obtaining witness accounts and, if required, obtaining signed witness statements and recover any ‘silent witness’ evidence (i.e. CCTV footage, intruder/fire alarm system logs)

Completing a detailed scene examination, documenting all aspects of the incident

Establishing the origin of the incident and cause of the incident

Assessing whether a viable route to recovery exists and advising the client on any potential liability concerns

Using our unique expertise in both Forensic Investigation and Fire Engineering, examine the patterns of damage in consideration of how the fire has spread.

Liaising with the attending Fire and Rescue Service and, if applicable, the relevant Policing Authority to establish what information can be shared.

ESCAPES OF WATER & OIL

Fluid escapes can have a detrimental effect not only on buildings and businesses but also have the potential to cause serious harm to the environment, depending on the fluid. These escapes of fluid can often result in a considerable financial loss for the building/business owner or their Insurance company. Domestic, commercial and industrial plumbing installations contain hundreds to thousands of system components and is vital that the investigator has the required knowledge and experience of these systems when determining the cause. Common causes which are encountered include incorrect component installation, poor workmanship, inherent manufacturing defects, system component failures (i.e. pump/expansion vessel failures, aged or fatigued components and failures which occur due to environmental factors (i.e. corrosion).

In recent years, we have noted a remarkable rise in escapes of home heating oil (such as kerosene) which has the potential to not only impact the environment, but in certain circumstances can impact buildings on-site and spread beyond the site to affect other properties. The majority of these incidents occur as a result of systems which are not installed or maintained as per the technical requirements of the Building Regulations and can offer a potential route to recovery of financial losses.

At Regent Fire Consultants, we will use our technical expertise and extensive knowledge of these types of incidents to:

Collect and examine all relevant witness accounts and evidence

Identify the origin and cause of the incident

Provide our clients with a technical but concise report, outlining the fault mechanism

Identify if any third-party liability exists and advise on recovery potential

ARSON INVESTIGATION & FRAUDULENT CLAIMS

Fraudulent or exaggerated claims continue to surface on an all too regular basis over the course of forensic investigations. From a property Insurance aspect, such claims can take the form of fires and escapes of fluid which have occurred deliberately or in fortuitous circumstances. Through an investigative knowledge base accumulated over years of incident investigations, Regent Fire Consultants will conduct a detailed examination of the evidence at the scene to advise our clients if any evidence exists to suggest that the claim is fraudulent or exaggerated. In consideration of arson investigation, key evidence includes:

Witness accounts and statements

Examination of the scene for evidence of multiple independent origins of fire

Careful, detailed excavations of the debris to detect if any accelerants/ignitable liquids were used

Retaining debris samples for laboratory analysis

Considering all potential causes to ensure that all other credible causes have been excluded where possible

Where possible, retain and review silent witness evidence (such as CCTV footage from the incident or neighbouring properties, intruder or fire alarm system logs etc).

Liaising with the attending Fire and Rescue Service and the Policing Authority to establish if any relevant background information and ongoing investigation information can be shared.

PRODUCT LIABILITY

Our investigators have regularly worked with product manufacturers to assist in product liability investigations. These investigations can be complex and require a thorough and methodical approach in order to ensure that, first and foremost, the correct cause of fire was identified during any investigations carried out prior to involvement of the manufacturer. Once this is confirmed, a focused and thorough examination of the product is carried out to identify evidence of the specific internal fault mechanism.

The appointment of a Forensic Investigator to act on behalf of a product manufacturer/their Insurer is of vital importance to inform the manufacturer or their Insurer on cause and liability. We will not only provide an independent and impartial view as to the root cause of the incident, but can also identify any potential recovery actions against other parties. For example, if a specific internal component has caused the incident which was specified and manufactured by a different manufacturer or if the failure was contributed to by factors outside of the product/appliance (i.e. inadequate electrical installations, missing system/safety components etc.).

PUBLIC & LANDLORD LIABILITY

As is often the case, incidents such as fires and explosions can occur which can have an impact on third parties such as members of the public or tenants. In such instances, Regent Fire Consultants can provide detailed advice to property/business owners and Insurers on any liability concerns which are identified during the course of an investigation.

For example, in Ireland, the majority of tenants living in rented accommodation do not have a contents insurance policy in place and can often instigate legal proceedings in an attempt to recoup any financial losses. Statutory Instrument No. 137/2019 sets out the minimum standards for rented properties and includes minimum standards for fire safety. The success of any such liability claims can hinge on provision of these minimum standards.

Our expert investigators will assess compliance with not only these standards but all relevant health and safety, fire safety and building control legislation, advising our clients on any breaches which are identified and allowing the client to take the appropriate action at the earliest possible instance.

POLICY COMPLIANCE

Our investigators have extensive experience in the area of policy compliance. Where a list of policy conditions, warranties etc. are specified on the policy document, we can assess these conditions and examine the scene for compliance. We can also provide our clients with a comprehensive report to include:

The observations of the attending investigator

A suite of photographs supporting these observations

Witness accounts/testimony relevant to policy compliance

Request, collate and include all relevant supporting documentation (such as invoices, servicing records, maintenance records etc)

FIND US

Our registered address in the UK is:

288 Oxford Road

Gomersal

Cleckheaton

West Yorkshire

BD19 4PY

Company Registration Number: 12207699

VAT number: 353217713

FIND US

Our registered address in Ireland is:

93 Upper George’s Street

Dun Laoghaire

Dublin

A96 V1K8

Company Registration Number: 12207699

VAT number: 353217713