Case Studies

Multi-Family Residential Structure

J.S. Held’s Inaugural Global Risk Report Examines Potential Business Risks & Opportunities in 2024

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The Situation

J.S. Held assisted in the cause determination of a fatal fire loss in a multi-family residential structure. A fire occurred outside one of the main access doors to the apartment building, trapping occupants inside the structure. An initial investigation by civil investigators showed that the fire originated in an air conditioning compressor outside the structure.

How We Advised

J.S. Held’s Equipment Consulting Practice was tasked to investigate and document the scene of the fire loss and to analyze fire patterns and fire spread to determine the area of origin of the fire loss on behalf of a potential defendant in a wrongful death litigation file. We evaluated the HVAC equipment to identify whether it was the cause of, or related to, the ignition or spread of the fire, and we were also tasked with identifying whether any failure was related to service work performed by the defendant. J.S. Held participated in a joint scene examination to assess the fire damage to the structure and the equipment, with the goal of determining the area of origin and the potential cause of the fire. The air conditioning condenser unit was excavated from the debris and retained as evidence for further investigation. J. S. Held then participated in additional joint laboratory inspections where the subject equipment was dismantled to analyze internal components for evidence of potential failure, heat damage, and/or effects of external fire damage. J. S. Held was able to determine that the fire was not related to the HVAC equipment or the work performed by the HVAC contractor.

Key Contact

Stu Morrison, PE, IAAI-CFI
Senior Engineer
Equipment Consulting Practice
+1 518 504 6317
[email protected]

Related Practice Areas

> Fire Origin & Cause Investigations
J.S. Held's fire investigative team is comprised of the top forensic experts with unrivaled expertise on fire-related matters of all types and sizes. Using a scientific approach, our fire investigators utilize state-of-the-art techniques and unparalleled experience to determine origin and causation, ensuring we deliver our clients a reliable and defensible report. We also have regional forensic laboratories for joint exams and the secure storage/maintenance of evidence for potential litigation.

> Equipment Consulting - Building Systems
J.S. Held consultants and engineers have extensive experience evaluating the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, vertical transportation, and security systems that are integrated into the construction and operations of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and facilities.

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