Private Fire Investigators

January 18, 2017
Hosted by Donna Ingram and Mike Schlatman

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Guest Information


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Episode Description

Join us, Kirk Hankins and Kevin Savage as we discuss private fire investigators, bomb squads, drug cartels, fire deaths and the International Association of Arson Investigators.

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.

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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.

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Episode Directory

January 2017

December 2016

Kathleen Alverio


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

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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

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David Bridges


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

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Greg Carrell


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

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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

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Tom Fee


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

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Kirk Hankins


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

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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

Episode Listing:

Dan Madrzykowski


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

Episode Listing:

Jamie Novak


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

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Wally Roberts


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

Episode Listing:

Kevin Savage


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

Episode Listing:

Joe Toscano


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

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Bob Toth


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

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Rusty Vollintine


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

Episode Listing:

Randy Watson


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

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