J.S. Held expands EH&S and forensic engineering practices with the acquisition of Veritox, Inc. & GT Engineering. View press release.


Fire & Smoke Assessments

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, in 2015 alone there were over 501,000 structural fires resulting in 2,685 deaths and more than $14.3 billion in property damages. Identifying the cause of each accident is an exacting and complex task, sometimes made more difficult by fire-fighting efforts that can destroy pertinent evidence and jeopardize an accurate determination of cause.

To protect financial interests and evaluate liability associated with fires and explosions, our clients and their legal and risk administrative teams call on the fire investigation work of J.S. Held. A J.S. Held team of experienced investigators can be dispatched within 24-hours to fire scenes across the United States. All J.S. Held investigators are former firefighters and law enforcement professionals with on-scene and educational and training backgrounds in fire investigations and laboratory analysis in determining the likely cause of a fire. Our investigators are trained in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements, and conform to NFPA 1033 standard and NFPA 921 guidance.

J.S. Held investigators find answers to important questions, including:

  • Were there multiple points of ignition?
  • Are any accelerants present?
  • What color was the smoke and how does the color determine a cause?
  • What was the condition of building entrance ways prior to the fire?
  • What was the condition of any fire control systems at the time of the fire?
  • Were any unusual items present at the time of the fire?

Our team of Certified Industrial Hygienists and Environmental Scientists utilize peer-reviewed, scientific procedures to evaluate impacts to properties from fires and resulting smoke damage to contents and adjoining properties. These evaluations involve the use of accredited laboratories to determine the presence of combustion byproducts, as well as accelerants and other environmental constituents that may impact handling and disposal of the structure and associated contents. Information captured as part of the assessment is used to prepare clear and concise restoration protocols that can be utilized by contractors and are responsive to site-specific damages. 

In addition to the performance of Fire Investigations and Damage Assessments, J.S. Held also offers a Basic Fire Investigation Training Program. Program elements include:

  • Scene Investigation and Site Reconstruction
  • The Investigative Process
  • Fire Dynamics: Behavior, Chemistry and Physics
  • Identification and Preservation of Evidence
  • Determining the Area of Origin
  • Ignition Source, Sequence and Cause Determination
  • Fire Pattern Identification and Analysis
  • Explosion Cause and Origin Determination
  • Explosion Dynamics
  • Explosion Scene Examination

Questions about this service, or any of J.S. Held’s services? Get in touch – we’re happy to help.

Contact Our Team