Jackson, Arthur L. Electrical aspects of fire investigation. Fire Engineering.
Vol 151 No 1 (January 1998). p 49-51.
Abstract: This article discusses some basic observations that
they author has made regarding common electrical equipment. How a common
duplex receptacle is mounted, how its wiring is attached and what are some
common signs of failure are discussed. Similar comments are made regarding
lighting fixtures, including fluorescent fixtures and their ballasts.
An examination should also include the rest of the electrical system
to identify potential failure points in the wiring leading to appliances
The problems involving multi-plug power strips are discussed. This includes
poor construction and stamped internal connections. Some fires have been
caused by power strips in the vicinity of fish tanks that have become wet
The key points the author identifies include the fact that electrical
failure is not always a key indicator as to the cause of the fire; the investigation
should include a full scene examination, witness interviews, reconstruction
and consultations with experts; don't rush to a determination.
Arthur L. Jackson is a chief fire investigator for Peter Vallas Associations,
Inc., a Hackensack, New Jersey-based company that provides fire and explosion
analyses, investigation and engineering services. He is also a fire official
and a 25-year veteran of the Hasbrouck Heights, (NJ) Fire Department. (Profile
provided by Fire Engineering)
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