News & Media

Fire Investigation Room Burns

By: Nicole Harvey

Category: Operational Information, Training & Recruitment

  9.59 AM 4 June, 2014

Location: General

Views: 3111

In preparation for the Structural & Vehicle Fire Investigation Course Assessments three (3) room burns were recently conducted at the CFA’s State Training College (Fiskville).

Two groups being the District 13 Captain’s Forum and the Recruit Fire-fighters Squad 1/2014 had the opportunity to be involved in the room burns for the course over two separate days.

The room burns provided the two groups the opportunity to observe first-hand structural fire behaviour from ignition of the fire through to extinguishment.  It also allowed the participants to obtain a greater understanding of the operational requirements of scene preservation to enable fire investigation to be undertaken.

The room burns were completed in the purpose built Fire Investigation Rooms at Fiskville.  Each tilt slab room was fitted out with plastered walls, carpet, windows, fittings and fixtures.  The rooms were also fully furnished with a variety of pieces of furniture, appliances and items that would be consistent with rooms such as an office, lounge room or a bedroom.

The Guest Instructors for the course developed different “real life” scenarios for each of the rooms. 

As part of the process with the course, the rooms were filmed before the ignition of the fires to record what the rooms looked like and the placement of furnishings and items prior to the fires occurring.  The rooms were then filmed from the ignition of the fire through the different stages of fire development and to the extinguishment of the fire.

The assessments for the Structural & Vehicle Fire Investigation Course will be held on 10 to 11 June 2014.  This is the final stage of the course for the nine (9) course participants undertaking this

As part of their assessment, the participants will be divided into three (3) Fire Investigation Teams.  The teams will be tasked to investigate a structural room fire scene. 

The Fire Investigation Teams will be required to undertake an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire using the fire investigation techniques and principles that they had previously been taught.

Following the completion of the investigation, the Fire Investigation Teams are required to prepare a report outlining their findings into the origin and cause of the fire and present this to the class.

To ensure that the scenes are as realistic as possible the teams will be provided a number of witnesses during the course of their investigation.  Witnesses will include the Incident Controller and/or first Fire-fighter on scene, attending Police Officers, the owner or occupier of the property, neighbours, person who reported the fire and other relevant witnesses.


The CFA’s Structural & Vehicle Fire Investigation Courses are highly regarded due to the practical component.  By undertaking the practical component of the course in conjunction with the theory based subjects it ensures that the course participants have the required knowledge and skills to undertake fire investigation and in particular to determine the origin and causes of fires.

State Fire Investigation Coordinator Nicole Harvey

Last Updated: 04 June 2014