Forensic Expertise for Uncovering Evidence in Vehicle Fires

June 17, 2024

Fire Dynamics in Vehicle Fire Forensics: Understanding Causes and Solutions

Vehicle Fires and Explosions

Investigation of vehicle fires requires expertise in fire dynamics to determine the origin, cause, and factors that contributed to the event. Vehicle fires can stem from a variety of common causes that include faulty equipment or systems, electrical shorts, and collisions. To further complicate investigations, post-fire evaluations often involve assessing heavily damaged vehicles, which leaves minimal evidence for determining the fire’s origin and cause.

Our investigators meticulously document fire scenes to identify ignition sources and fire patterns. They collect debris samples, residues, and other materials for analysis, and interview witnesses to gather information about the events leading up to the fire. This thorough approach helps ensure a comprehensive understanding of the fire’s causes. By collaborating with our team of mechanical and electrical experts, Rimkus fire investigators also consider recent vehicle repairs or installations that might have contributed to the fire when identifying root causes of vehicle fires and explosions.

Electric Vehicle Fires

Understanding what happened in an electric vehicle (EV) fire presents additional unique challenges due to the flammable nature of lithium-ion batteries. Investigating EV fires involves analyzing the vehicle’s battery system, electrical components, and electronic data to determine the fire’s origin and cause.

Rimkus fire experts are trained and experienced in the evaluation of electric vehicle fires. We apply specialized knowledge to provide detailed analyses that help identify potential manufacturing defects, maintenance issues, or external factors that may have contributed to the incident.

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Case Study: Fire Investigation at a Truck Terminal

A fire originated in the engine compartment of a tractor-trailer parked at a trucking terminal. The fire spread quickly and ultimately destroyed five tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles. Rimkus was retained to determine the origin and cause of the fire; read about our investigation below.

Case Study

The Consulting Expert®: Meet the Northeast Fire Team

Rimkus fire investigators can apply their expertise to not only uncover the truth behind fire incidents but also help enhance public safety and mitigate risks associated with fire and explosion hazards.

Located strategically in offices across the Northeast United States and beyond, our team of experts is ready to provide timely investigations utilizing cutting-edge technology to help clients understand these complex events.

George Lopez

George L. Perez, Jr., IAAI-CFI (V), NAFI-CFEI,

Fire Consultant
Philadelphia, PA
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Nate Perkins

Nathanael E. Perkins, CFI, NAFI-CFEI, IAAI-FIT(V)
Senior Fire Consultant
Columbia, MD
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Robert Raker

Robert P. Raker, IAAI-CFI (V)
Senior Fire Consultant
Westerville, OH
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Northeast Fire Team
Chicago: 630.321.1846
New York: 646.755.9259