With over 30,000 vehicle fires each year, the trauma caused to owners and financial cost to insurers is significant. In many cases, the origin and cause of the fire can be determined and the possibility of financial recovery or repudiation fully evaluated.
Our role as forensic fire investigators is to examine the damaged vehicle, and independently establish the origin and cause of the fire. The process of forensically examining a vehicle fire is a detailed and highly structured process that requires the attention of not just a fire investigator, but one with specialist automotive engineering knowledge.
In summary, we typically follow the following steps:
- Interview the vehicle owner/driver (where appropriate).
- Conduct a detailed examination of the vehicle at the scene or at a secure location (e.g. a salvage agent).
- Document and photograph all relevant aspects of the investigation.
- Cross-check the nature of the damage in relation to known manufacturer or component faults.
- Check with VOSA for any outstanding vehicle recalls in respect of a risk of fire.
- Submit a detailed report of our findings.
Classic and agreed value vehicles
We have vast experience of dealing with fires in valuable classic vehicles – and not so classic vehicles that have high agreed values. With the fluctuations in the second-hand market, we have investigated various instances of arson for the purpose of making a fraudulent claim.
We are also experienced with expensive restoration work that is, on occasion, poorly carried out, and also use of inappropriate materials and methods.With high insured values, often based only upon inspection of photographs, we are the ones to assist you not only in establishing the cause of the fire, but also pre-fire condition.
Rapid response or historic investigation
Though many vehicle and car fires do not need to be examined at the scene, we always work swiftly to conduct our investigation. Our aim is to document our findings quickly, but without compromising the level of detail and accuracy we pride ourselves upon.
The nature of car fires also means we are able to conduct investigations into incidents that took place months and even years previously. In these cases, a combination of on-site and desk-based investigation work can be used to determine the origin and cause of the fire or any other fire related aspects that may be at issue.
Expert witness services
In some cases we are required to present our evidence in court. As leading members of The Academy of Experts, and therefore a recognised Corporate Provider of Expert Services, we are trained and experienced in this field. You can rely on our advice to be independent and impartial, and our reports to be prepared as ultimately suitable for disclosure.
Need a vehicle and car fire investigator?
If you have a fire-damaged vehicle or vehicles that require forensic examination, please contact one of our offices for a rapid response.