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    Default Ford Speed Control Deactivation Switches

    Has anyone worked a Ford vehicle fire in which the speed control deactivation switch was found to be the cause?

    http://www.atslab.com/fire/PDF/IAAI_Article.pdf

    I am currently working a 2003 Ford Explorer, while the Ford recall does not cover this vehicle, it is still equipped with this type of switch. Area of origin has been narrowed to the driver's side of the engine compartment. The fire occurred 14 hours after the vehicle was involved in a front end collision resulting in approximately 8" of intrusion into the engine compartment on the driver's side. As a further complication, the owner was seen leaving the tow yard approximately 30 minutes prior to the fire. So far, no evidence of a set fire.

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    122- I have worked as a CO on two of the same vehicles. I believe 03 is too late for the recall. On my first one, the vehicle was parked for over 3 days before the fire. The fire started around the brake booster and was put out before our arrival. The second started 30 minutes after the owner went in to a factory for work, again over the brake booster. If the FD and towing company both are doing prevention they should be disconnecting cables thus making the possibility of the cruise control being a issue. So if the cables aren't connected, the runner is your torch.
    The evidence of God's presence far outweighs the
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    Yes, the recall does not apply to the 03, however, I think it uses the same switch. Battery cables were still connected as the police department never called the fire department...go figure. As for the owner, I think that any evidence of arson is gone. Either really smart or really lucky if they torched it...

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    This is a perfect example of negative corpus and how innocent people get put in jail. Ruling out all accidental causes i.e. "cables aren't connected" is not proper justification for an incendiary fire. It is an undetermined fire until you have evidence of anything else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant387 View Post
    122- I have worked as a CO on two of the same vehicles. I believe 03 is too late for the recall. On my first one, the vehicle was parked for over 3 days before the fire. The fire started around the brake booster and was put out before our arrival. The second started 30 minutes after the owner went in to a factory for work, again over the brake booster. If the FD and towing company both are doing prevention they should be disconnecting cables thus making the possibility of the cruise control being a issue. So if the cables aren't connected, the runner is your torch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor61 View Post
    This is a perfect example of negative corpus and how innocent people get put in jail. Ruling out all accidental causes i.e. "cables aren't connected" is not proper justification for an incendiary fire. It is an undetermined fire until you have evidence of anything else.
    Well them my studious arson EXPERT, explain how if the cables were disconnected could a accidental or part failure fire could originate 14hrs after the accident. Even new hybyid vehicles have the capacitors discharge after 10 minutes, so no ignition source - no fire. The reason I asked about disconnected cables it does lead to accidental fires if not connected. Toward the beginning of my 20+ yr career service a towing company hauled a vehicle that involved a fatality and stored a vehicle to keep people from trying to look at it. Later that night the vehicle caught fire and then the building on fire. After discussing with the owner he said he didn't remove the cables. So unless you have field experience not just as a book trainined (with the "negative corpus" remark seem like you are)investigator you would know if the cables were disconnected as the vehicle was removed from the scene it would not have no way to start.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant387 View Post
    Well them my studious arson EXPERT, explain how if the cables were disconnected could a accidental or part failure fire could originate 14hrs after the accident. Even new hybyid vehicles have the capacitors discharge after 10 minutes, so no ignition source - no fire. The reason I asked about disconnected cables it does lead to accidental fires if not connected. Toward the beginning of my 20+ yr career service a towing company hauled a vehicle that involved a fatality and stored a vehicle to keep people from trying to look at it. Later that night the vehicle caught fire and then the building on fire. After discussing with the owner he said he didn't remove the cables. So unless you have field experience not just as a book trainined (with the "negative corpus" remark seem like you are)investigator you would know if the cables were disconnected as the vehicle was removed from the scene it would not have no way to start.
    Sorry, my friend, but Taylor's right.

    If you follow 921, you know you must show three things to prove a fire cause:

    1. The first fuel ignited
    2. The heat source
    3. The event that brought them together.

    If you are basing your incendiary fire call on a dc's cable, you are not proving your cause. It is a valuable piece of evidence, but it is still short of the necessary proof needed to sustain your cause.

    It would also be a good idea not to launch a personal attack against an investigator who disagrees with you or has a different opinion. It is extremely unprofessional.

    If you have an issue with what I am telling you, I would be happy to discuss this with you via email: wendtcfi@optonline.net.

    George Wendt, IAAI-CFI
    Director-IAAI
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Lieut 387:

    Your reply to my post proved my point. You assumed something about me that is totally incorrect. I'm not going to go through my credentials, but I have plenty of field experience and have testified in depositions and in court as an expert. I'm not merely a "book trained investigator".

    Determining a fire cause based on the lack of evidence rather than having evidence to support the cause is speculation and will often lead you to the wrong conclusion.

    I don't know how a car could catch on fire with the battery disconnected, but given the post, I have very little information. To assume it was an arson based on the info provided is certainly not following the scientific method. Fires I investigate that I don't understand or know how they started are undetermined, not arson.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    George, all I was trying to get across to the certain defense attorney wannabes that if the cable was connected, fat chance in proving anything. If it was disconnected then there is a point to start. The conversation was betweeen 122 and myself. I know very well it is far from completely proving a case. However I am one of those firefighters that is tired of listening to "political correctness" and not afraid to attack an issue with common sense head on. It is a starting point, the table then turns to find out where and what the sources, where there any fuel leaks, was there any ignition sources available and in interogation why did the owner leave just "shortly" before the fire. If everyone is that "all knowing" enlighten me on anything that can hold a charge enough to start a fire 14hrs after a collision with the cables disconnected (if they were).

    We had a "duo" plan a carfire to help his friend out of a lease. The fire was interior and the CO knew things were wrong with the difficulty in extinguishment after a short "brief" discussion with the occupant he sang like a bird and admitted to putting 3gals of gas in the interior and faking a crash that we had witnesses waiting to talk to us about.

    It may be wrong but an investigator job is not to prove someones innocense but to prove guilt and a person that even knows the work "negative corpus" I feel doesn't have a desire to prove guilt just to prove someones innocense. If you don't like it, I am sorry that is just what I believe. Also, sorry for any type-o's, just a bit aggrivated
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant387 View Post
    George, all I was trying to get across to the certain defense attorney wannabes that if the cable was connected, fat chance in proving anything. If it was disconnected then there is a point to start. The conversation was betweeen 122 and myself. I know very well it is far from completely proving a case. However I am one of those firefighters that is tired of listening to "political correctness" and not afraid to attack an issue with common sense head on. It is a starting point, the table then turns to find out where and what the sources, where there any fuel leaks, was there any ignition sources available and in interogation why did the owner leave just "shortly" before the fire. If everyone is that "all knowing" enlighten me on anything that can hold a charge enough to start a fire 14hrs after a collision with the cables disconnected (if they were).

    We had a "duo" plan a carfire to help his friend out of a lease. The fire was interior and the CO knew things were wrong with the difficulty in extinguishment after a short "brief" discussion with the occupant he sang like a bird and admitted to putting 3gals of gas in the interior and faking a crash that we had witnesses waiting to talk to us about.

    It may be wrong but an investigator job is not to prove someones innocense but to prove guilt and a person that even knows the work "negative corpus" I feel doesn't have a desire to prove guilt just to prove someones innocense. If you don't like it, I am sorry that is just what I believe. Also, sorry for any type-o's, just a bit aggrivated
    Let me tell you something, pal. I am fairly certain that if you started arresting people for arson today, you would probably not ever catch up to me, so do not for a minute think you are the god of fire investigation. I've gone through more pairs of boots than you have completed fire investigations. And BTW, when you post on a public forum, you conversations are not between you and somebody else. They are public for all to join in and comment. And as I said, Taylor was 100% correct in what he posted.

    Your post is absolutely scary and demonstrates the danger of a little bit of knowledge. Tell me, what seminar did you attend where they taught you that an investigator's job is to prove someone's guilt? My guess is you didn't hear that at any class taught by an experienced and reputable fire investigator. Your job as an investigator is to determine the truth-wherever it may lead. You may have heard of the IAAI. Their Code of Ethics states "I am a truth seeker, not a case maker".

    ""Negative Corpus" is a theory that will NEVER earn you a conviction in court. NEVER. Have you heard of a Daubert challenge? Have you heard of a Frye test? In a nutshell, your origin and cause determination must be based on science. It must be verifiable. It must be accepted by the scientific community as a reliable theory and it must be backed up by research and publication. Even a confession must be backed up by evidence. You will not find one piece of research or peer-reviewed literature that states that using a negative corpus approach is a sound approach to origin and cause determination. Not one. You will find that there is a discussion of negative corpus in 921 that may be very enlightening for you.

    I also find your attitude about fire investigation appalling. One of the things that your origin and cause determination must stand up to is testing. How in the world are you ever going to make it in this business if you can't have a rational discussion with someone who disagrees with your opinion? My guess is that you haven't been doing fire investigations very long, you don't have much training and you have never been to deposition or court. There will alwys be cases where someone as an honest difference of opinion with you. It would serve you well to shut up, listen and learn when that happens. Trust me, this forum looks like a coffee klatsch compared to what's in store for you there-expecially someone with a crap attitude.

    I know, I know. This is the part where you tell me that you don't care what 921, Daubert, Frye or any other treatise says. You will also tell me that I, too am a defense whore. That is the way you do it and you know what you are doing so screw me.

    Your worst fear ought to be putting an innocent person in jail or having their insurance co. deny their claim because you have a bias. Do yourself a favor. Go to www.cfitrainer.net and take some of these classes. They are free and you can do them at your own time and pace, so that shouldn't be an excuse. You should then join a professional association like the IAAI or NAFI and begin to learn through the journals and training classes.

    If you STILL think that I am full of it, then do me a favor and let me know what FD you work for. I need to make sure that I get assigned a case there so I can clean your clock in court to teach you a lesson.

    You also owe Taylor an apology. The only thing you have to be "aggrivated" about is the fact that your posts make you look like a damn fool.
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 01-17-2008 at 09:05 AM.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant387 View Post
    It may be wrong...
    I'm going to nominate that quote for "FH.com Understatement of the Year."

    Quote Originally Posted by Lieutenant387 View Post
    ...but an investigator job is not to prove someones innocense but to prove guilt
    An investigator's job isn't to prove anything. An investigator's job is to discover, collect, and document facts -- not speculations.

    FYI, under US law, it's never necessary to prove innocence -- everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That's the prosecutor's job -- not the investigator's.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    George, all I was trying to get across to the certain defense attorney wannabes that if the cable was connected, fat chance in proving anything. If it was disconnected then there is a point to start.
    BTW, this is NOT what you said.

    If the FD and towing company both are doing prevention they should be disconnecting cables thus making the possibility of the cruise control being a issue. So if the cables aren't connected, the runner is your torch.
    Sounds to me as though you are drawing a conclusion.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I.A.A.I. Code of Ethics

    I will, as an arson investigator, regard myself as a member of an important and honorable profession.

    I will conduct both my personal and official life so as to inspire the confidence of the public.

    I will not use my profession and my position of trust for personal advantage or profit.

    I will regard my fellow investigators with the same standards as a hold for myself. I will never betray a confidence nor otherwise jeopardize their investigation.

    I will regard it my duty to know my work thoroughly. It is my further duty to avail myself of every opportunity to learn more about my profession.

    I will avoid alliances with those whose goals are inconsistent with an honest and unbiased investigation.

    I will make no claim to professional qualifications which I do not possess.

    I will share all publicity equally with my fellow investigators, whether such publicity is favorable or unfavorable.

    I will be loyal to my superiors, to my subordinates, and to the organization I represent.

    I will bear in mind always that I am a truth-seeker not a case maker; that it is more important to protect the innocent than to convict the guilty.



    You get the point yet?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I guess he won't be back. I just hope he changes his ways.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Have we found out who's **** is bigger yet? If so, maybe we could get back to my question...

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFD122 View Post
    Have we found out who's **** is bigger yet? If so, maybe we could get back to my question...
    Couple of things here.

    1. Why don't you try doing legitimate research on this topic instead of asking other people to do it for you?

    2. Would you like to have answers from a person who is clearly a poor investigator who uses bad science and bias to come to his "conclusions'? How reliable do you suppose they are?

    3. I have worked several of those fires. You are in the right place in the engine compartment. You have the right time frame. You don't need a front end collision to have this type of fire. The right way to do this investigation, and the only way to conclusively say it was the cruise control switch, is to sift the debris under the car and recover the remains of the switch. The remains will be small, so you will have to sift instead of search by eye and hand. If you do not recover the switch, do not even try to blame the fire on the switch. Ford fights these claims very aggressively and has an army of investigators and attorneys out there to defend them. Ford will use factors such as the collision and the owner leaving the tow yard to deflect the blame away from the switch.

    4. As one of the NHTSA criteria is a history of a malfunctioning switch, it is imperative that a detailed interview of the vehicle owner and primary driver be accomplished. The interview should be backed up by service and repair records.

    Anything else I can help you with?
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 01-20-2008 at 11:06 PM.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I have already located the switch but thanks for your help anyways. I was simply looking for some input on these types of fires. Clearly we cannot do that here without being demeaned and put down. So much for that code of ethics huh George? Im sure you have many important fires to get back to investigating so we'll stop taking up your valuable time. Thank you for your input though, I certainly appreciate learning what other investigators are doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFD122 View Post
    I have already located the switch but thanks for your help anyways. I was simply looking for some input on these types of fires. Clearly we cannot do that here without being demeaned and put down. So much for that code of ethics huh George? Im sure you have many important fires to get back to investigating so we'll stop taking up your valuable time. Thank you for your input though, I certainly appreciate learning what other investigators are doing.
    You are not bothering me and I would be happy to answer your questions all day. However, asking in the manner in which you did was extemely unprofessional. If you have more questions, my info is on the IAAI Directors page. I willbe happy to assist you in any professional way I can.

    As far as the switch, is the vehicle insured? Have theysent out an O&C? If not, I would put that switch in evidence as the vehicle owner may want to pursue this matter in civil court.

    I hope you appreciate the danger that the other poster poses to the field of fire ivestigation. I take the Code of Ethics very seriously, as do most members of the IAAI. Exposing these people who have the attitude that they are out to prove guilt, it is improving the entire field. You ought to be as angry as I am.

    BTW, answering you the way I did violated no provisions of the IAAI Code of Ethics.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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