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#46052 12/10/04 06:42 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 169
We are all desirous of knowing the source of fires, especially where it effects us personally or professionally. There was an article in the Houston Chronicle regarding an execution of probably an innocent man. It brought back a memory of a case that was quite similar. A gent in AZ was convicted of killing his two daughters by arson. The key testimony was by a “Fire Marshall”, who I knew, lied about his background and qualifications. I contacted the defense attorney and provided him with quite a bit of info. To make a long story short, re-trial, real experts, acquittal. The “Fire Marshall” was fired.
If you think false charges that your work caused a fire would never happen, just remember that juries are very sentimental if children are harmed. Don’t take shortcuts or use sub-standard materials. Even if you meet all codes, rules, and inspections you are still liable for a safe installation as courts have ruled “You are the expert”! Be carefull.

#46053 12/11/04 10:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
You know, that had always been one of my greatest worries as an electrician/contractor. Even doing small service work, and finding existing problems near or part of what I was working on, darn near gave me nightmares each night. No matter how far I tried to repair things, there had to be a stopping point, either by customer request or financial reasons. I couldn't afford to re-wire every other house or business I worked on. So, I fixed what I could, and fervently hoped for the best of the rest.

#46054 12/12/04 11:00 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
Maybe is should be stated on the bill to the customer that additional work should be done as a problem exists. This may cover you in the event of a mishap.

#46055 12/12/04 12:16 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
I'd just like to state a few things here.
As a few Members here that are Fire-fighters from the US and beyond, would agree, you don't become a Fire Marshall over-night and I would be looking to the Court to prove the qualifications of the said Fire Marshall, before the case took place.
I've been in a Court room situation before as an Officer here and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.
Another point is, do you believe everything that you read in the paper or see on TV?
Another point, Fire investigation is left to those that know something about the science and the physics of this subject, we are talking the means to a conclusion.
This is the real world, not "Murder She Wrote"!.

#46056 12/12/04 10:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
I hate to break it to you Mike, but it ain't always so, especially so in the more rural areas where the fire departments are manned by volunteers. With budget shortfalls, many who take extra training for positions like Fire Marshals, often do so at their own cost, or with just some expenses paid. In a fire territory near my area, the fireman acting as Fire Marshal declared a barn fire as electrical in origin. Of course, when the insurance investigator pointed out there was no electrical provided to the barn, the origin was declared "uncertain". I have also personally had a Fire Investigator tell me it's informal SOP to declare a small fire "electrical in nature" if the cause of the fire isn't readily apparent, as a thorough investigation is expensive to the department in time and money. So it goes.

As for adding more legalese to invoices, and a warning about any seen additional problems, they are only as good as the paper they're written on. In today's suit happy society, even if you're in the right, proving it in a court can bury a business.

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