Fire Expert WitnessesWhat areas may a fire expert consult on? Fire investigation experts examine evidence to determine the source of ignition and then analyze the possible cause, which could be natural, accidental, incendiary, or undetermined. These experts are knowledgeable on fire codes as well as building codes and consult on whether buildings or vessels are in compliance.  

In the news, a boat rental service has filed a lawsuit “to head off litigation from families of the victims” in the fatal fire on their diving boat. The California company owned the scuba diving boat which caught fire on September 2, 2019. Thirty four people lost their lives. The dive boat was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island when a fire started below deck. Five crew members were able to escape but thirty-three passengers and one crew member were trapped and died in the early morning fire. The National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report is as follows: 

Preliminary Report: Marine DCA19MM047 

Diving vessel sunk after fire 

Accident Date: 9/2/2019 

Accident ID: DCA19MM047 

On Monday, September 2, 2019, about 3:14 a.m. Pacific daylight time, US Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach received a distress call from the 75-foot commercial diving vessel, with 39 persons on board. .. Initial interviews of three crew members revealed that no mechanical or electrical issues were reported. At the time of the fire, five crew members were asleep in berths behind the wheelhouse, and one crew member was asleep in the bunk room.

Local Coast Guard and fire departments arrived on scene to extinguish the fire and conduct search and rescue. The vessel burned to the waterline by morning and subsequently sank in about 60 feet of water. …Later that day, the Coast Guard declared the accident a major marine casualty. The NTSB was named as the lead federal agency for the safety investigation and launched a full team to Santa Barbara, arriving on scene the following morning….Efforts continue to determine the source of the fire. 

(The information in this preliminary report is subject to change and may contain errors. It will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.) 

The NTSB report points out that there was no night watchman checking on the three-deck vessel which the U.S. Coast Guard states is a maritime requirement. 

Fire expert consultants provide invaluable analysis and testimony in cases involving fire origins and whether defendants are at fault. Hiring a highly qualified fire expert witness is essential in a fire related lawsuit. Contact ForensisGroup to be connected with an expert hand-selected for your case.