Tel: 020 7726 49 51 (24 hours)
Email: postmaster@burgoynes.com

Risk Focus: Engine Room Fires

Burgoynes' consultant Chris Foster has teamed up with Thomas Miller to produce the UK P&I Club's latest Risk Focus on Engine Room Fires. Engine room fires are one of the most common fires on ships owing to the presence of a wide range of sources of fuel, sources of ignition and running machinery. An extended period of time on board a ship without a fire incident can lead to complacency and a failure to prioritise fire prevention measures and simulated fire incident practices.

FIRES IN THATCHED BUILDINGS

Burgoynes was established in 1968 and its 60 investigators currently investigate around 3000 fires a year, mainly for insurers, both in the UK and abroad.  Of these fires, currently about 15 a year are in thatched buildings and whilst thatch fires represent a small proportion of building fires as a whole, the losses are disproportionately high.  This is because thatched properties are generally of higher than average value and are frequently listed structures, leading to high repair costs.  In addition, fires in thatch are difficult to extinguish and tend to be in remote locations, with inadequate water supplies, leading to increased damage.

 

A fire or explosion can result in the contamination by smoke of facilities, equipment and stock, not only at the incident premises, but also at neighbouring sites...

Is Your E-Cig Actually "Safe"?

 With the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes, the number of reports of fires that are said to have been caused by one of them “exploding” or otherwise failing has also increased...

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE STUART-SMITH

The importance of a thorough investigation, comprehensive report and  appropriate photographs all contributed to the Honourable Mr Justice Stuart-Smith finding in favour of the claimants in a recent judgment (see below). He noted that “Burgoynes, leaders in the field of forensic fire investigation” had provided “compelling evidence and cogent argument” to support the claimants case.

GATHERING AND PRESENTING EVIDENCE IN MAJOR LOSS RECOVERIES

Burgoynes, Crown Office Chambers and Clyde & Co joint seminar on Gathering and Presenting Evidence in Major Loss Recoveries.

SAFETY RECALL BRIEFING

At Burgoynes we frequently investigate fires involving white goods and electrical installation equipment where the cause is related to a manufacturing or design defect.  We are currently involved with investigations that relate to Repair Action or Safety Recall notices that are detailed in the following PDF download.

CONTAMINATION SERVICES CAN SAVE UNNECESSARY EXPENDITURE

This case involved a manufacturer of vehicle parts which had occupied a large, 20m high, single-storey, steel-framed industrial property for a number of years. During a normal operational day a small oil fire occurred during which a considerable quantity of smoke was released into the building. The Insurers of the building subsequently received a claim for damages arising directly from the fire and also indirectly from the contamination of both the equipment at ground level and the extensive steelwork that supported the roof.

CONSUMER UNIT FIRES

During April 2010 a product recall was initiated by the electrical equipment manufacturer, Electrium, relating to the risk of fire associated with certain miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) including Crabtree, Volex and Wylex brands supplied between April 2009 and February 2010, see www.mcbexchange.co.uk/electrium.

FIRE INVESTIGATION AT ROSEPARK CARE HOME

On 31 January 2004, a fire at the Rosepark Care Home in Lanarkshire led to the deaths of 14 elderly residents.  This was a relatively modern facility with 24 hour staffing and only two minutes from a fire station.  In 2010 a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) heard from all the key players and reported in 2011.  It sought to identify improvements in fire safety that might prevent such a tragedy in the future.

FROM SHERLOCK TO BURGOYNES: YEGANEH -V- ZURICH INSURANCE COMPANY

Back in the 19th century, Sherlock Holmes’ ability to notice and analyse the smallest clues arguably made him the first well known forensic investigator. He was in fact based on Dr Joseph Bell, a forensic scientist from Edinburgh under whom Conan Doyle (the author of the books) studied. That legacy of scientific rigour and meticulousness continues today as demonstrated by the Burgoynes’ investigators.

One perfect example of this attention to detail can be seen in a case that involved extensive litigation, but finally hinged around a clothing label spotted by one of Burgoynes’ partners, John Fuller. 

 

SAUNA FIRES

From time to time investigators from Burgoynes have been called upon to investigate the causes of fires that have occurred within sauna cubicles.  Such fires, occurring as they do in sauna compartments that are timber-lined, are prone to develop rapidly and often cause substantial damage.  Where such cubicles are located in leisure complexes or hotels the fires can lead to substantial economic loss.

BURNING DESIRE

Senior Partner Chris Foster has been featured in "Burning Desire", published in the Telegraph Magazine on 17 October 2009 and on line, which describes the work of fire investigators and focuses in particular on the "hidden plague" of arson.  The author, Eric Clark, describes the work of investigators from London Fire Brigade and features Burgoynes, major insurers, loss adjusters and lawyers.  Chris points out that "you can't do armchair investigations"  and goes on to describe the general principles of investigation, including recording without disturbance followed by an in-depth search of the scene. 

DRI BY ANY OTHER NAME

Operators of bulk fleets will be aware of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) and of the appropriate precautions that must be taken to ensure its safe carriage by sea.  However, we are aware of a number of shippers who are offering a material for bulk shipment that is clearly a DRI product, but is claimed to be safe for bulk carriage by sea without the usual precautions.  However, we are also aware of two explosions, and a potential explosion, in the past year that have occurred on vessels that were carrying this cargo.