A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. degree in Administration of Justice & Legal Studies, as well as a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Academy, Mr. Luke Nelson has 25 years of experience as an investigator. As a former Pennsylvania State Trooper, he has investigated homicides, burglaries, robberies, assaults, arsons, insurance frauds, and various other crimes. He spent the last 14 years of his career with the State Police in the Fire Marshal Unit, solely investigating fires and explosions in multiple counties throughout Pennsylvania.
He is a Certified Fire Investigator through the International Association of Arson Investigators, a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators, and a Certified Fire Investigator through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of the State Fire Commissioner. He has also been certified as an expert witness in the field of fire origin and cause determination in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.
Mr. Nelson has investigated 616 fires and explosions encompassing both accidental and intentionally set fires, as well as fatal fires. These investigations included commercial and industrial structures, multi-family and single-family residences, vehicles, various farm structures, wildland fires, and illegal methamphetamine labs. His professional experience includes investigating the origin and cause of fires and explosions, as well as conducting witness and suspect interviews and scene reconstruction/ignition experimentation when needed to complete an investigation. Mr. Nelson has worked extensively with local fire and law enforcement, insurance investigators, and prosecutors (local District Attorneys, State Attorney General’s Office, and US Attorney’s Office) and defense attorneys on both the state and federal levels.
As an Instructor through the Pennsylvania State Police, Mr. Nelson has conducted multiple training programs for local fire and police departments throughout his career. He has also been an instructor for the Pennsylvania State Police at the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy for the annual Fire Investigator I class, an intensive, two-week training program that focuses on all aspects of fire investigations and training for officers to become certified fire investigators through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of State Fire Commissioner. As an instructor at the Fire Academy, Mr. Nelson also assisted in the creation of burn rooms, controlled burns, and subsequent training in fire origin and cause investigations, safety, forensic photography, and evidence collection.
EDUCATION & CERTIFICATIONS:
• Administration of Justice & Legal Studies, B.A.: University of Pittsburgh (1993)
• Certified Fire Investigator (CFI): International Association of Arson Investigators
• Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI): National Association of Fire Investigators
• Certified Fire Investigator: Commonwealth of PA, Office of the State Fire Commissioner
• Licensed Private Investigator: Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia
• Memberships: International Association of Arson Investigators; National Association of Fire Investigators; PA Association of Arson Investigators
• Motor Vehicle Fire Credential Endorsement (V): International Association of Arson Investigators