2022 MN IAAI Annual Training Conference 

Class Descriptions

Panel Discussion: Public/Private Interaction and Cooperation


Devin Palmer, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Kevin Mahle, Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office

Jeff Washinger, Investigative Loss & Control Services

William Roach, United States Attorney’s Office

Wade Kish, Anoka County Attorney’s Office

Tony Krall, Meagher & Geer

This discussion will center on the interactions and cooperation between public and private-sector investigators. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Arson Immunity Statutes, Rules, and Limitations

  • Expectations from the Public and Private Sector

  • Are there limitations on the cooperation between both sectors on a suspected criminal case?

  • How can the public and private sectors assist each other?

  • Are there limitations on what information can be shared? Should there be?

The audience is encouraged to participate in the discussion. Should the attendees have questions they would like to submit, they can be sent to [email protected]

Building Construction for Fire Investigators

Instructor: Jon Nisja

Learning Objectives:

• Identify and classify the types of building construction

• Understand modern construction techniques

• Identify materials used in building construction

• Evaluate the impact of fire in buildings

• Examine building failures and concerns

• Identify the different types of fire separation walls

• Recognize warning signs of impending structural collapse

Fire investigations often involve building fires since that is where the majority of fires occur in Minnesota. Building fires are also where the greatest dollar loss tends to occur and where most fire fatalities happen. This session will identify types and classification of construction used in modern building and fire safety codes along with the materials and terminology used to describe various components of building construction.

This session will also examine how buildings tend to behave in fires and how fire spread is confined or limited by the use of fire-resistive construction materials.

Origin Determination: The Relationship Between Modern Fire Dynamics and Observed Post-Incident Fire Patterns and Effects

Instructor: Andrew Cox

Credible analysis for origin determination requires that investigators understand fire behavior and how that behavior generates fire effects and patterns.  This presentation will discuss the relationship between fire dynamics in the modern building environment and the post-incident fire effects and patterns that may be observed by fire investigators.  The Origin Matrix Analysis, a specific methodology for origin determination, will also be explored.

Evaluation of Witness Data for Fire Investigations

Instructors: Adam Fanjoy and Andrew Cox

Competent and credible fire investigation work requires proper consideration of witness

information. This program will offer fire investigators with data collection techniques for successfully obtaining critical information from witnesses. In addition, the program will provide fire investigators with a framework to reasonably evaluate the relevance and reliability of witness information for use in science-based fire origin and cause determinations.

Fire Scene Photography

Instructor: Janet Nelson

A fire scene and a black hole have something in common…both reflect about the same amount of light. Therefore, it is necessary for the fire investigator to learn methods of recording light and detail in a fire scene that go beyond the point & shoot capabilities of the auto mode in most modern cameras.

A PowerPoint discussion will demonstrate how to record the light in a scene for several seconds, add light with a flashlight or auxiliary light sources, learn new methods of using flash, and the close-up (macro) documentation of evidence.

Hands-on instruction will allow participants to try out these methods with their own equipment during class.

Students will need to bring the DSLR camera and flashlight you use at scenes or compact camera, if that is what you use at scenes. (Cell phones are not cameras) Also please bring a tripod and an extra battery. If you have them, a macro lens and a hot shoe-mounted flash. 

This class will be limited to 40 participants per session. The class will be offered twice on Friday morning. Students should sign up for which session they would like to attend when they register for the conference. The seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served, basis. 

Interviewing for Fire Investigators

Instructor: Chad Museus

This course will cover the basic skills and techniques used when collecting information via interviews. 

Use of Smart Meter Data in Fire Investigations

Instructor: Michael Keller

There have been several issues raised in past years about smart meters. However, what has

received little attention is their use in fire investigations. Smart meters, and the smart grid,

have the potential to provide investigators valuable information about the electrical system and

the fire event. This discussion will include information about smart meters, how to obtain and

utilize their data, and a case study where this information was used in court after two

firefighters were tragically killed fighting a fire that was intentionally set.

NEW FOR 2022

Insurance Track - Vetting Your Fire Loss Experts

Instructors: Dominic Novak and Jeff Washinger

Fire losses by their very nature can be complicated, not only from the investigation standpoint,

but also from the fire loss and file adjusting that the Insurance Professional must deal with.

As a member of a larger investigation team that will be working on a given fire loss file, the

Insurance Professional has the distinction of forming the investigative team that will ultimately decide the success of the case.

The purpose of this course is to educate today’s Claims Professional into the intricacies

of today's fire investigation Industry. The course is designed to provide the Claims Professional

with an up-to-date understanding of the requirements and considerations that today’s fire

investigator must possess and be intimately familiar with. By becoming familiar with these

topics, the Claims Professional will be able to make informed decisions regarding the make-up

of the fire investigation team that will be needed to assist them with the handling of these