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Fire and Explosion Investigation

Fire and Explosion Investigation

Fire and Explosion Investigation

Fire and Explosion Investigation

If evidence is not correctly identified, evaluated, collected, processed and analysed in a timely manner, invaluable information can be changed or lost, potentially with significant implications. We methodically investigate incidents using our training, knowledge, and depth of experience to uphold the highest standards of identification, collection, and evaluation of that evidence.

Without the highest standards of forensic fire and explosion investigation, all those with an interest in an incident risk serious financial and legal disadvantages.

Our reputation and proven record of technical performance and output is second to none.

Fire and Explosion Investigation

  • Fire investigation – including engine room, cargo, accommodation and yacht fires
  • Solid, liquid and gas phase explosion investigation
  • Management and coordination of fire and explosions incidents
  • Support and advice to ongoing firefighting operations
  • Salvage management
  • Detailed, methodical collection and evaluation of evidence
  • Documentary evidence - evaluation and opinion
  • Advice on interpretation and application of Codes of Legislation
  • Personal attendance or remote advice

The Investigation

Our investigators have many years of experience of successfully tackling complex fires in both the civil and criminal sectors, and have the ability to respond rapidly to events across the globe.

Often, fires and explosions occur extremely rapidly during the same chaotic event – with fires causing explosions and vice versa. It is essential to determine at an early stage the chronology of events to set the investigation on the right path from the start. Conversely, any failure to do so can be difficult or even impossible to recover from later on in the investigation. This requires a rapid initial response by properly equipped, trained and experienced investigators with a keen eye for detail right from the start.

Our strength lies in our meticulous forensic approach, combined with the ability to instantly call upon the diverse and in-depth experience and expertise of our colleagues.

Collectively our teams offer an incredibly high standard of evidence identification, collection, preservation, continuity and interpretation, based on a fundamental knowledge of the chemistry and physics of fires and explosions, coupled with forensic best-practice.

The Investigation

Once an incident is under control, our investigators will embark on a meticulous investigation of the event, to ensure the requirements of the client are satisfied. To do this, we will gather evidence from many sources including from the scene itself, as well as from documentation and relevant external or third-party sources.

Our investigators will work to build a full picture of the circumstances. The scientific method of our investigation follows a cyclical pattern, which progresses while in close communication with our clients. This process will continue iteratively until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of our clients

Our Multi-Disciplined Approach

Our clients lie at the heart of our operations from the moment they contact us. We serve a wide range of interests including owners, P&I Clubs, underwriters, charterers and cargo interests. Providing a rapid and seamless response by thoughtfully tapping into and exploiting many decades of practical knowledge and experience.

Fires and explosions are usually unexpected, sudden, and often violent and destructive events. Therefore, investigators working to determine the cause of an incident must respond quickly and with great diligence.

Our fire and explosion investigation work cuts across all areas of the business, often requiring us to work in close collaboration with marine engineers, master mariners, metallurgists, scientists, naval architects and software engineers.

The Value of Expertise

With any multi-party investigation, it is vital to actively and positively interact with agents, representatives or delegates who are in attendance. While constructive co-operation is essential, it is vital that we represent the interests of our clients with the highest levels of forensic integrity and proficiency from the moment of instruction.

Those who have suffered a loss or casualty may initially look to make savings due to financial pressures, and in some circumstances surveyors or inexperienced local investigators, are invited to attend in place of a more qualified and experienced professional.

This often does not result in long-term value. In many instances it can be more costly to re-evaluate and investigate following incomplete or ineffective initial investigations.

Court proceedings can take place months or even years after the incident, by which time the opportunity to recover additional evidence will be lost. The margins between success and failure can be extremely slim.

Fire Safety in Ship Design

Shipbuilding continually innovates with new design concepts or by pushing the boundaries in terms of size and capacities. In the passenger vessel sector, customers demand passenger cruise vessels that are bigger, with even higher capacity, greater efficiency and comfort.

An increasing gap has emerged between the vessel designs, industry desires, and designs permitted by SOLAS regulations. In the offshore energy sector, larger vessels with greater numbers or persons on board bring new challenges to passenger safety and in particular fire safety. Innovation and safety have always been a key driver in the large yacht market.

In order to meet industry demand while ensuring adequate safety provisions, SOLAS now allows the development, evaluation and approval of technical and functional design solutions that deviate from the Statutory prescriptive requirements. These are known as Alternative Design and Arrangements (AD&A)

Fire and Escape Simulation Analysis

Brookes Bell uses the latest simulation tools to evaluate fire hazards or to support forensic investigations. Using both generic simulation packages like ANSYS FLUENT or fire-specific software such as Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS), we are able to simulate fire scenarios to determine the rate of propagation of fire/smoke hazards throughout a vessels compartmentation. This capability allows us to assess the impact of fire and smoke on the structural integrity of the affected compartments, the effectiveness of passive fire-protection and active fire-fighting systems and the impact of heat fluxes and smoke hazards on exposed crew and passengers.

ANSYS FLUENT is a general purpose Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software which is useful in determining gaseous flow in complex geometries which are sometimes necessary when considering ventilation arrangements. Fire Dynamics Simulator is a CFD code specifically developed for fire-driven fluid flow. FDS has been developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA) for analysis of low-speed, thermally-driven flow, with an emphasis on smoke and heat transport from fires.