Deaths in Fires
April 26, 2017
Hosted by Donna Ingram and Mike Schlatman
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Please join us, Dr John DeHaan and Rob Siarnicki as we talk about how citizens and firefighters are killed every year in fires. Listen to learn how deaths occur and how to keep you and your families being victims. Also how a foundation supports firefighters families.
Speaking of Fire
Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
Our show is about fire, its effects and investigation into the fire’s origin and cause. Our goal is to inform the public about fire to prevent accidental fires and fatalities. It is also to deter the intentional (arson) fires. Our experienced guests point out hazards to avoid and practices to save lives and property. We discuss fire investigations and technologies that are used to arrest arsonists. By presenting internationally recognized experts in the field of fire investigation research and technology, you will gain insight into fire behavior through the interesting cases that are presented. Prosecution of arsonists and denial of insurance claims during court litigation are also discussed. The insurance industries mandate to investigate fires and their legal aspects are presented. Speaking of Fire is broadcast live every Wednesday at 11 AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.
Donna Ingram and Mike Schlatman
Donna Ingram has been in the insurance industry for 28 years. She has worked as an insurance agent, fire and fraud investigator in claims, and currently as a manager over operations, vendor vetting, claims coordination and recruitment. She liaisons between SIU, procurement, claims and vendor contracts.
She is a past Director of the IAAI. She is the Sec/Treas of the KS Chapter IAAI, a past Director of the MO Chapter, IAAI, the KS Association of Licensed Investigators and the Kansas City Arson Task Force. She is a member of numerous associations including the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, and the Professional Fire and Fraud Investigators Association.
Michael Schlatman President of Fire Consulting and Case Review International and FireAnalysis.Net. Has numerous years of fire experience. He peer reviews fire investigation reports for other organizations. He is a Past President of the International Association Arson of Investigators, the world leaders in fire investigation.
He is a former police detective. He has a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs (Criminal Justice) from St. Louis University. He has taught internationally with the IAAI and fire service. He has testified as a fire expert in Federal and State Courts. He has been a consultant for a State Attorney General’s Office and District Attorney Offices.
He is the primary IAAI Facilitator teaching Expert Witness Testimony throughout the USA. He has also co-authored training modules for expert reports and testimony.
Doug Allen retired as a Division Chief with 32 years of service in the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE). He was the Southern California Law Enforcement Coordinator for CALFIRE, coordinating the Southern Arson Investigation Unit and Civil Litigation program. Chief Allen specializes in the analysis and profiling of "Serial Arsonists". Allen has investigated and/or supervised the investigation of over 100 serial arsonists. All of the 100 arsonist were adjudicated. He has been an investigator, technical ad visor and Incident Commander on numerous Law Enforcement Investigations and Surveillance Operations throughout California.During one thirteen month period Chief Allen coordinated 107 sworn personnel on eight major arson investigations in Southern California. These operations resulted in the apprehension and conviction of eight serial arsonists and the clearance of over 600 arson cases. View Guest page
In 1998, Bill began working for the Franklin Fire Department, Franklin, Tennessee. He serves the citizens of Franklin as Fire Lieutenant, assigned to the Suppression division where he is charged with responsibilities of firefighting, fire investigations and fire inspections. Since 2009, he has been the co-owner of Fire-Tek. Fire-Tek offers fire extinguisher, fire system, and fire investigations services. Mr. Almon has tailored his investigation expertise to fixed fire extinguishing systems, specifically commercial kitchen fire system origin and cause determination and system analysis. Mr. Almon holds certifications as a Certified Fire Investigator, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator. Bill is also a Certified Fire Inspector and Hazardous Materials Technician. Bill has received multiple recognition's for successful fire investigations and lives saved throughout his career. View Guest page
For over 20 years, Kathleen Alverio has handled the investigation of complex fraudulent insurance claims, data analysis and development of facts and evidence. She has coordinated claim triage for investigations with outside contacts, various states Department of Insurance Fraud Divisions, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and various law enforcement agencies assisting in investigation efforts. Kathleen has been particularly effective increasing fraud awareness with solid investigations resulting in deterring financial risks saving millions on bogus claims. Annually she designed, presented and tracked her company’s fraud training investigative practices, procedures for 200-300 employees in claims, underwriting, customer care and new employees for over 10 years. She helped set up live burn demonstrations, live auto accidents, panels of experts and guest speakers when serving on the Board of the IA-NE Chapter of International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU). View Guest page
Rod Ammon, President of Stonehouse Media Incorporated, has over 25 years of experience in television, film, interactive media, and digital and online marketing. He specializes in working with businesses, government agencies, and professional associations to transition their online properties from purely informational one-way billboards to multi-directional interactive tools that engage the target audience to accomplish organizational goals like member involvement, revenue generation, and training delivery. In 1995, Mr. Ammon founded Stonehouse Media Incorporated with his partner, James Paulus.Under Mr. Ammon's leadership, Stonehouse Media was one of the first in the region to become a cross-platform networked facility, implementing emerging compression, conversion, and delivery technologies to bring virtual reality, motion, and sound to interactive media.Today, Mr. Ammon develops multi-faceted projects that take advantage of all converging media. View Guest page
Dr. Andrew Armstrong
Dr. Armstrong is the Co-founder and Sr. VP of Armstrong Forensic Laboratory, a private lab providing specialized testing for the ID of ignitable liquids, environmental, and industrial hygiene. He has been the primary consultant in over 40,000 suspect fires and explosions and has testified as an expert witness in most states and several foreign countries. He has provided consultation services to cause and origin investigators for incidents ranging from petroleum industry explosions to aeronautics and chemical manufacturing losses. He authored one of the first scientific papers on the use of dual capillary columns for ignitable liquid identification by gas chromatography. As a member and former chair of the ASTM Forensic Science Committee, E-30, he is responsible for outlining the requirements for laboratory identification of accelerants, evidence handling, report preparation and other technical areas. View Guest page
Steve Austin is the Director of Governmental Affairs for the International Association of Arson Investigators. He has served in that capacity since 1985 where he represents the Association in Washington DC.
He is a 53-year veteran of the fire service. Steve is a Past President of the Delaware Volunteer Firemen’s Association. He is actively involved in many public policy issues impacting the delivery of emergency services including those involving the investigation of fires. He was named a 2007 Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute.
He spent his working career with the State Farm Insurance Companies where he gained valuable knowledge about fire investigation practices and the relationship between public and private sector fire investigations in seeking the accurate origin and cause of fires. View Guest page
My name is Chip Barnhart and I specialize in commercial kitchen fire losses. My role in an investigation is to evaluate the performance of the commercial kitchen fire suppression system, ventilation, and related components. I worked for a manufacturer and wholesaler of fire suppression equipment for over 6 years as a product training & technical support specialist. Besides training the installers of commercial kitchen fire suppression equipment and answering related technical questions, I went to fire losses as a company representative when our attendance was requested. That was how I got my first exposure to a fire investigation. My entry into the field of fire investigation is somewhat atypical; coming from the “product” side compared to most of my colleagues who came from the public sector, academia, or a combination of both. I began working in this field in 2006 and have been working for Barnhart Consulting Services since 2013. View Guest page
Scott co-founded Fire and Explosion Consultants, LLC in 2012, but since beginning his career as a volunteer fire cadet in 1976 has spanned over 40 years in the fields of fire science, law enforcement, and fire/explosion investigations. Scott finished his public service as a Senior Fire Investigator with the Regional Fire Investigation Unit and a sworn deputy sheriff.
Scott is an IAAI-CFI, NAFI-CFEI, CFII, and CVFI. Scott is a court-qualified fire investigation expert testifying as an expert in federal, state, and local courts.
Scott is an active member of the International Association of Arson Investigators. His involvement began in the Ohio Chapter where he served in several executive positions and earned recognition as the Chapter’s “Fire Investigator of the Year” in 2001. Currently, Scott serves on the Executive Board of the International as the First Vice President and will ascend to acting President in April of 2017. View Guest page
Mr. Bilancia is an electrical engineer and ESI Senior Staff Consultant with 17 years of experience in fire origin and cause evaluations, including those where electrical activity may have been involved. He has performed more than 800 fire and electrical investigations. Mr. Bilancia also has an additional 26 years experience in biomedical design of implanted pacemakers and defibrillators, the design and programming of industrial controls, microelectronics, and precision electronic instrumentation. He has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University and an instructor to the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) community in electrical evidence collection and the scientific method. View Guest page
David Bridges is an associate in Meagher & Geer’s Catastrophic Loss Practice Group, focusing on complex civil litigation, including fires, explosions, structural failures, fire protection system failures, product failures and other catastrophic losses and construction-related incidents across the United States. His assignments include forensic investigations of catastrophic losses, including fires/explosions/fire protection system failures involving industrial, commercial and residential facilities.
David received his JD degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law. David also obtained a graduate degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.
He has extensive experience operating as a fire/arson agent/K-9 handler throughout the southeastern United States. He is an International Association of Arson Investigators’ Certified Fire Investigator (IAAI-CFI) who has investigated more than 1,000 fires and explosions. View Guest page
Steven Carman is the President of Carman & Associates Fire Investigation, Inc. in Northern California. He served as an ATF Certified Fire Investigator for 15 years and spent more than nine years as a member of the ATF's National Response Team. In 1998, Carman was selected as the ATF Agent of the Year for work done on two arson homicide cases. Carman holds a B.S. degree with High Honors in Physical Sciences from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a M.Sc. degree with Distinction in Fire Protection Engineering from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.
Carman is a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Arson Investigators and still serves on the IAAI Training and Education Committee. Currently he sits on the Editorial Board of the international journal, Fire Technology. He has lectured internationally on such topics as Fire Dynamics, Ventilation Limited Fire Behavior, Elevated Fires and Computer Fire Modeling. View Guest page
Greg Carrell began his public safety career in 1983 when he left chemical engineering school to take a job as a police officer in his hometown of St. James, Missouri in 1983. Always interested in fire investigation, he became a volunteer firefighter and certified fire investigator. He rose to the rank of Sergeant before taking a position with the Missouri Division of Fire Safety (Office of the State Fire Marshal) in 1986 as an investigator assigned to the northwest quarter of the state.
In his 30 years with the State Fire Marshal’s office, he has served as an investigator and an accelerant detection canine handler. He has taken part in nearly 2,500 investigations involving local, state and federal fire and law enforcement agencies.
He was promoted in 2005 to the position of Assistant State Fire Marshal until May of 2014 when he was appointed the Acting State Fire Marshal, a position he currently holds. View Guest page
George A. Codding is currently the President of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), the worldwide organization of fire and explosion investigators with almost 9,000 members in 79 chapters and over 50 countries. In 1998, he began his involvement in the fire investigation field as a deputy district attorney in the Denver area, when it was suggested that because he was a volunteer firefighter he should consider being the office’s liaison with fire investigators. He has been steadily involved in the field since then. He served in various capacities in his state chapter including President, and became active in the International by attending conferences, joining committees, and working to organize and present training at the annual conferences. He was elected to the IAAI’s Board of Directors in 2009, and was elected Second Vice President in 2014. He moved up to First Vice President in 2015, and in April 2016 became President for a one-year term. View Guest page
Dr. John DeHaan
Dr. John DeHaan has over 45 years experience in fire and explosion related forensic science. After earning his B.S. in Physics, he spent 29 years with County, State, and Federal forensic labs. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Pure & Applied Chemistry – Forensic Science in 1995. He has authored six editions of Kirk’s Fire Investigation since 1982 and was co-author with Dr. David Icove in Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction since 2004. Since 1999, he has been president of Fire-Ex Forensics, Inc., a private consulting firm that provides services to police and fire agencies, public defenders, private attorneys, and insurers in fire and explosion cases. His research into forensic fire scene reconstruction is based on first-hand fire experiments in fire behavior involving over 600 observed full-scale structure and 100 vehicle fires under controlled conditions. He has testified as an expert witness in criminal and civil trials involving fires and explosions across the U.S. and overseas. View Guest page
Mr. Fee, Fire Fraud and Explosive Investigator for over 40 years, retired from the Pomona FD after 28 years. He worked in the arson/bomb unit for 25 years and was the supervisor for that unit for 15 years. As Chairman of the CA State Fire Training Advisory, he was instrumental in the development of the State Fire Training Curriculum for Fire and Arson Investigation Certification courses. He holds a lifetime CA Teaching Credential and taught college classes for over 25 years in Fire Suppression, Fire Prevention, Fire/Arson Investigation, Fire Death and Bomb Investigation. Mr. Fee has been a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators for over 40 years, served two terms as President and chaired or been active on many committees. He has been a member of the CA Conference of Arson Investigators since 1970, served as President, and is the current chair of the Training Committee as well as actively involved in many other committees. He is a CFI with both IAAI and CCAI. View Guest page
Mr. Hankins is a Regional Manager of FCII. He is a former Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy and a retired 24 year Police Officer from the Columbia Missouri Police Department.
He was the primary Fire Investigator for the Columbia Police Department and was responsible for all explosive related incidents and post blast investigations. He was a Captain with the Boone County FPD and he served as the Bomb Squad Commander. He also served as a Technical Search Specialist with Missouri Task Force One.
He is a Police and Fire Instructor for the University of Missouri, Columbia Police and Fire Departments, Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department and the National Fire Academy.
Mr. Hankins was certified as a Fire Investigator by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety, PFFIA of Missouri, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and the Missouri Chapter IAAI. He is also certified by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and as a Firefighter I and Instructor. View Guest page
Dr. David Icove
Dr. Icove, forensic fire engineering expert, with over 40 years of experience. He is the co-author of Kirk’s Fire Investigation, Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction, and Combating Arson-for-Profit, the leading textbooks in the field of fire investigation.
He served for over four decades as a criminal investigator on the federal, state, and local levels. He is presently a Professor at The University of Tennessee, as well as an Adjunct Faculty member at the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland.
He has testified as an expert witness in criminal and civil trials, including three times before U.S. Congressional committees regarding FBI initiatives to detect and prosecute serial arsonists.
While employed at the FBI as a Criminal Profiler, he led the development of the present-day motive classification system for arson.
He has served as a principal member of the NFPA’s Technical Committee on Fire Investigations, (NFPA 921). View Guest page
Chris is a partner in the 33 lawyer Subrogation Department at the Philadelphia based law firm of White & Williams since 1990. He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia and regularly acts as lead counsel in fire related subrogation matters throughout the United States with the assistance of local counsel. His practice is focused on investigating and litigating fire losses for insurance carriers and he is a frequent lecturer on property subrogation related topics. Chris is one of a limited number of subrogation lawyers who is an active state certified interior structural firefighter, fire officer, and fire instructor. His 26 years of experience in handling property subrogation claims involving fires, coupled with his firefighting training and experience, make him uniquely qualified to provide helpful advice and guidance to origin and cause investigators. View Guest page
Trace Lawless began his career in the public sector in 1980. He now has more than 34 years of experience in the fields of fire service, law enforcement, and fire and explosion investigations. Trace is a graduate of the National Fire Academy, as well as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, in the areas of fire origin and cause determination and investigations. Additionally, he has attended fire investigation courses around the United States, including Federal agencies, in the following areas: origin and cause investigation, evidence collection and preservation, explosive devices, post-blast investigations, motor vehicle fire investigation, ATF accelerant detection canine and courtroom testimony.
Trace currently holds the position of Director and Training and Education Chair with the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and is Past President of Ohio Chapter IAAI. View Guest page
Dan is a Research Engineer with UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute Dan has conducted fire investigation related studies including fire fighter line of duty deaths, post-earthquake fires in Kobe, Japan, oil field fires in Kuwait, the Station Night Club fire, and the Cook County Administration Building fire in Chicago. He has a Master of Science Degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland. Dan lectures on topics including fire dynamics, firefighter safety, fire protection, and fire investigation research and he has served as an invited fire science expert on television and radio programs including the Discovery Channel, the Weather Channel and National Public Radio. In 2013, Dan was invited to the White House to be honored with the Citizens Service Award, a result of his research for the fire service. He is currently developing test methods and standards to improve safety for fire fighter protective equipment. View Guest page
Dr. Peter Mansi
A Certified Fire Investigator with the IAAI, Member of the Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences and Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers. Peter attended and passed a two-week fire investigation course at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre, Glenco, Georgia and a CFI re-certification course with the ATF in Washington DC. Peter has developed a unique comprehensive fire investigation methodology, designing a series of 23 Fire Investigation Road Maps (FIRMs) to enable the investigator to identify and analyse all available data relating to an incident without bias, as part of his PhD thesis, based on the study of fire investigation methodologies. Peter has been involved with many of the highest profile fire investigations within the UK and Ireland over the last 12 years. Peter was President of the IAAI’s 67th UK Chapter between 2003 and 2014 and the IAAI between 2014-2015. View Guest page
Mr. Minden is a mechanical engineering graduate of Kansas State University. He provides consulting services in the areas of design and performance of machinery and machine components, pressure vessels, fracture analysis, metallurgy, fire protection sprinkler systems, materials and component testing, and infrared thermography. Prior to joining ED&T in 2002, Mr. Minden worked as a project engineer designing and constructing heavy-wall custom-built pressure vessels and piping for NASA and the petrochemical and power generation industries. Mr. Minden is a licensed engineer in 23 States. Mr. Minden has been involved in over 100 investigations of natural gas and propane system fires and explosions. View Guest page
John Morris is the principal owner of Morris Fire Investigations. John is a retired ATF Special Agent Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) and Certified Explosives Specialist (CES). John’s expertise includes over 725 fire and explosion scene examinations with multiple instances of expert testimony in federal and state courts. Prior to forming Morris Fire Investigations, John retired as a Supervisory Special Agent with ATF with over 26 years of service, more than half of that time as a fire and explosion investigator. In addition to being an ATF CFI and ATF CES, he was a member of ATF’s prestigious National Response Team.
Among the hundreds of fire and explosion scenes investigated by John include the Boston Marathon Bombing, Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing and multiple serial bombing and arson cases. John was also the lead CFI on the USS Miami, a nuclear submarine fire, with a $1,000,000,000 dollar loss. View Guest page
Mr. Moylan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland. Mr. Moylan retired as Lieutenant of Investigators from the Union County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office after a 28-year law enforcement career. He was an investigator and supervisor in the Arson/Bomb Squad. Mr. Moylan has testified as an expert witness in the fields of fire and explosions, and firearms. Mr. Moylan served 17 years as a volunteer firefighter and was an instructor in Fire Chemistry and Origin and Cause Determination in the Union County Fire Academy. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Union County College, teaching subjects in criminal investigation and fire origin and cause. Mr. Moylan is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI/Redstone Arsenal Hazardous Devices School for Bomb Technicians. He is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and currently the 2nd Vice President of the IAAI. View Guest page
Jamie Novak is a full time 24hr Shift fire investigator for Saint Paul fire department for the last 21 years and Owner of Novak Investigations. He is a former Minnesota deputy State fire marshal Fire arson Investigator for 11.5 years. He was also a former Golden Valley paid on call firefighter and Fire Inspector. He has 37 years in the fire service and 32 years as a fire Investigator. He has burned approximately 130 houses one room at a time to flashover and helped blow up with propane and natural gas 11 houses and many cubicles. He has also set over 1000 fires for testing and training. He has a passion for training and public education. View Guest page
Started in law enforcement as a part-time Deputy Sheriff while attending the University of Wisconsin and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. In 1980 was hired a Special Agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation working in the Narcotics Bureau. In 1982 transferred to the Arson Bureau of the same Department with the responsibility to investigate fires and explosions in the State of Wisconsin. In 1982 joined the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and the Wisconsin Chapter of IAAI. In 2010 began investigating fires and explosions in the private sector with Kubitz and Associates working mainly in Wisconsin and portions of Michigan. Severed the IAAI as Director and President of the Wisconsin Chapter and then as Director and President of the International in 2011 & 2012. Presently serving as Chair of the IAAI Certified Fire Investigator Committee. View Guest page
Jason Rhodes is the Media Manager for the Overland Park Fire Department in Overland Park, Kansas. Overland Park is the second largest city in Kansas, encompassing about 75 square miles and boasting about 180,000 residents. Jason grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. Jason worked in television news for almost 20 years, most of that time as a cameraman. Jason spent many of those years at KMBC-TV-9 in Kansas City and was privileged to work with some of the finest broadcasters in the business.
In 2005, Jason joined the Overland Park Fire Department as their Media Manager. Jason’s responsibilities include operating a small TV studio at the department’s Fire Training Center and serving as OPFD’s Public Information Officer. Jason is responsible for internal and external communication products, training products and public safety information products. View Guest page
Wally Roberts has been involved in public safety for over 35 years, and currently is the Chief of the Investigations Division with the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Kansas. Wally has been the Chief since January of 2016. Prior to this, he served as a Investigator for the OSFM since 2001.
Prior to his position with the OSFM, he was a police officer in the City of Topeka, and worked volunteer firefighter for a local fire department.
Wally served honorably for the US Army as a Military Police Investigator, stationed at Ft. Riley KS. Prior to his enlistment with the Army, he was a firefighter for the State of California working for the California Department of Forestry and Fire, now known as CalFire.
Wally is an active member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Chapter.
Wally has over 30 years of Law Enforcement experience with 16 years of that investigating the origin and cause of fires. View Guest page
Donald G. Robinson is the Special Agent in Charge of the National Center for Explosives Training and Research. Robinson has been in this position since June 2013, and oversees a staff of 13 supervisors and approximately 100 special agents, bomb technicians, chemists, canine trainers and administrative staff in support of ATF’s explosives and arson training, enforcement, and research programs. Robinson began his career with ATF in 1987, and has previously served as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Division, Director of the U.S. Bomb Data Center, Group Supervisor in Baltimore Field Division, Program Manager and Branch Chief of explosives training in ATF Headquarters. He also served for 12 years as a certified explosives specialist and a member of ATF’s National Response Team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama. View Guest page
Mr. Savage began Law Enforcement career as a Patrol Officer for the City of Champaign, Illinois after serving in the U.S. Military for approximately 5 years. Kevin served over 26 years as a special agent with ATF. He spent 20 years on the South Texas Border; the last 9 as a Certified Explosives Expert and CFI conducting origin and cause examinations. He is an IAAI CFI. He was a member of ATF's NRT. As an ATF CFI and CES, his primary responsibility was to assist other agencies with fire investigations. His work has led to expert testimony in both state courts along with regional and national awards. Kevin instructed at the ATF National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR); Missouri Law Enforcement Training Center, The South Texas Fire Investigator’s Association, the Missouri Chapter of the IAAI, Mexico Federal Police in Arson and Explosives, among others. He now conducts cause and origin investigations for FCII as a special investigator. View Guest page
Mr. Scheer has a thriving litigation practice and focuses on complex and commercial litigation. He is admitted in Federal and State Court, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a trial lawyer. He has tried cases in admiralty, collapse, coverage, construction, breach of contract, construction defect, property insurance, bad faith, civil forfeiture, subrogation, personal injury, criminal prosecution and professional and products liability. He has tried multiple wrongful death cases to verdict, and many other catastrophic loss trials. Mr. Scheer speaks regularly at numerous international and national conferences, and he has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, discussing a product liability case in which he was lead counsel. Mr. Scheer has received his “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest peer based rating indicating very high to preeminent legal abilities and highest ethical rating. View Guest page
Commander - Head of the Fire Investigation Department, Fire and Rescue Commission, Israel since 2012. 25 fire investigators working under my command investigating more than 5,000 fires every year all over the country. A lecturer of the Science of Fire – the Haifa University. Retired after 24 years as a Forensic Scientist in Israel National Police - CSI. View Guest page
Samantha Shannon is an Assistant District Attorney with Johnson County District Attorney’s Office located in Olathe, Kansas a suburb in the Kansas City Metro area. Sam has worked in the DA’s office for over eight years. She is currently assigned to the narcotics unit and handles all the arson and explosives cases for the County. She has prosecuted a variety of cases to include Arson, Aggravated Arson, Criminal Use of Explosives, DUI, Distribution of Illegal Narcotics and Homicide. Sam is a past presenter at the annual Kansas IAAI Conference and will be a guest speaker again this year. She is also a frequent participant in the IAAI’s Expert Witness Testimony Course and travels across the country assisting in the presentation of that class. View Guest page
Ronald Jon Siarnicki, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s Executive Director, began his career as a firefighter with the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 1978 and over 40 years, progressed through the ranks to Chief of the Department. Prior to joining the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Monessen Volunteer FD, in western Pennsylvania. In doing so, he followed a family tradition-both his father and grandfather were volunteer firefighters.
In July 2001, he retired from Prince George’s and now manages the day to day operations of the Foundation to include the National Memorial Services, construction of the National Memorial Park and the renovation of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In addition, he created the catalyst for the development of the “Everyone Goes Home” Program designed to reduce the number of firefighter line-of-duty deaths that occur each year. View Guest page
Mark Sweany - Been in the fire service 31+ years, started out as a volunteer firefighter in Mission, KS and went to Overland Park FD in January 1988. Certified Investigator with state of Kansas and involved in fire investigations since 1999. KSIAAI and IAAI member. Assigned Fire Marshal for Overland Park FD in 2012. Have been involved in numerous news stories for the local news regarding fire investigations and public education for the city of Overland Park, KS. View Guest page
Gary Thorstenson is an experienced Training Management Professional who is skilled in fire investigation. He is presently the Regional Training Manger for the IAAI and a Deputy Fire Marshal in the town of East Lyme, CT. Formally, he was the lead trainer for the CT State Fire Marshal’s Fire Investigation Pre-Certification Course, and is a retired US Army officer with over 29 years of service. He holds a BS in Adult Vocational Education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Gary is an IAAI-FIT and IAAI-CI. He makes his home in Connecticut with his wife Diana and has three grown sons, Gary Jr, Timothy and James. View Guest page
Ricardo Torres is a Vice President at Envista Forensics, responsible for the management of the company’s Latin American operations. Since 2007, he has been the principal consultant in fire and explosion losses throughout Latin America including Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Ricardo’s proven abilities and service acumen have proven to be invaluable to Envista’s clients in Latin America. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico, and is fluent in both English and Spanish. In addition to his professional work as a forensic consultant, he has also worked diligently through the International Association of Arson Investigators to introduce and develop Spanish-language fire investigation training programs for fire investigators from Latin American countries. He has presented at several educational and training seminars in the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States. View Guest page
Joe has been involved in all aspects of the field of fire investigation and case management for more than forty years. His expertise includes Fire Origin and Cause, Large Loss Investigation Management, Curriculum Development, Claim Division and SIU Training as well as Subrogation and Fraud Investigation. He has been recognized as an expert witness in both State and Federal courts and previously served as a member of both the NFPA 921 and 1033 committees and has lectured globally in thirteen countries.
He is a past recipient of the IAAI Investigator of the Year Award and is a Life Member of both the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and Connecticut Chapter of the IAAI and he serves on the IAAI, Training and Education, FISC and CFI Trainer Steering committees.
After a 20 year law enforcement career, he accepted a position at Chilworth Technology, a global leader in the Process Safety and Engineering industry before joining Jack Ward Fire Consultants. View Guest page
Robert Toth's career started with nearly 21 years in fire service. The last 10 years included law enforcement and conducting fire investigations, both public and private. Retiring from the fire service in 2002, he started IRIS Fire Investigations and has conducted and assisted in origin and cause investigations in the USA, Hong Kong, and South Africa.
He lectures and presents on fire investigations, NFPA 921, interviewing, internet technology, and digital photography. He has presented various topics to public agencies and private enterprises across the United States, in Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Botswana, and South Africa.
He is a past president of the Colorado Chapter, and past director of the International Association of Arson Investigators. Currently, he is a member of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), Fire Scene and Explosives Subcommittee’s Documentation and Report Writing Task Group. View Guest page
James (Rusty) Vollintine has more than 27 years in the fire service and serves as a full-time fire investigator and Accelerant Detection K9 handler for the City of Topeka, Kansas Fire Department.
He is an active member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, currently serving on the Board of Directors for the KS Chapter. He has an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science; Fire Science and is certified as an IAAI CFI.
He has over 23 years of Law Enforcement experience in determining the origin and cause of fires. He attended the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in the State of Kansas, and has received training from the National Fire Academy for Fire Investigators, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office (KSFM), and other agencies. He has participated in over 1100 fire investigations. He has spent the last 12 years as an ATF Accelerant Detection K9 handler in over 400 fires. View Guest page
Randy is a Senior Fire Investigator, Training Coordinator and Regional Manager of the Atlanta, Georgia, office of S-E-A, Ltd. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina. Randy has almost forty years experience in both public and private sector fire investigation. He became involved with the National Fire Protection Association’s Technical Committee on Fire Investigation (“NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations”) in 1991 and since January of 2008, has served as the committee chairman. Randy also serves on the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Investigator Professional Qualifications (“NFPA 1033 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigators”). Randy is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, currently serving on the Board of Directors; and the National Association of Fire Investigators, also serving on the Board of Directors. View Guest page