Matthew Pegg, Fire Chief / General Manager of Emergency Management & COVID-19 Incident Commander for the City of Toronto, recently tweeted that the Toronto Fire Department is seeing a 17% increase in fires in the city.
“As Toronto adjusts to the new normal with COVID-19, and with self-isolation in place, regularly unoccupied homes during the daytime are now filled with its occupants” Senior Fire Investigator at 30 Forensic Engineering, Rashmiya Raviraj B.A.Sc., CFEI, P.Eng. says. “These regular activities, such as the use of cooktops, candles, appliance failures and inadequate disposal of smoking materials, can potentially pose the risk of accidents, which could result in a fire. Because of this, impartial investigations will continue to be valuable in helping the insurance and legal industry identify the origin and cause of these failures”.
Beyond the fire investigations themselves, we continue to see the need for accurate scoping and assessment – small fires can often result in large impacts, as smoke and soot may travel throughout homes and business especially if ventilation systems are active. Proper definition and remediation of post-fire impacts to finishes and contents is always recommended for hygiene and health & safety reasons, and documentation of the remediation is always consistent with risk management best practices.
As an essential service, our policy is to be an active partner with our clients and other persons who attend joint investigations by working together to overcome the obstacles that prevent timely investigation and delivery of findings. Our work is completed in accordance with our Joint Examinations and Site Work During COVID-19 Policy, which addresses safety concerns and best practices for completing site work, including physical distancing, hand hygiene and PPE.
Our highly-skilled and diverse team of experts provide a unique perspective and profound understanding of how and why fires and explosions occur. Whether the loss is associated with a complex metal refining process, a food processing facility, a commercial HVAC unit or an ordinary space heater, we have the right experts to provide insight into both the cause and broader context of the event. During the course of our investigations, we keep our clients informed of our progress and findings and make sure we meet their timelines for deliverables.