Volume 4 Number 46
November 16, 2007

30th Annual Training Session at Florida State Fire College, in Ocala
November 14-16, 2007

Jeff Merritt, SFM and president of FACAPFrom all over the state, 138 fire fighters registered for the annual training event. The morning was kicked off with a welcome from Captain Jeff Merritt of the State Fire Marshal's office, who is also the president of FACAP. 

Thursday evening was highlighted by the presentation of the FACAP Investigator of the Year award.

The 2007 award winner is Detective Thomas Barron of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Tommy is in the Northwest Region of the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations   and has been with the State Fire Marshal's office since 1998 and previously was assistant chief of the Lynn Haven Fire Department. He is a member of the SFM Forensic Investigative Support Team and was recognized as the Northwest Region Detective of the Year for 2006.

Tommy Barron

The surprise of the evening went to the longest serving employee of the SFM, Mary Fields. Mary retired from the Bureau in 2006; however, she has maintained an active role in the FACAP organization. She was presented with the Meshalko Distinguished Service Award.  

After the welcoming ceremonies, the meeting moved to the live fire training building that had been constructed through the efforts of FACAP in 1991. With thermal couplings and cameras in place, a fire was set on a small couch.

Less than three minutes later flashover occurred, and then the fire wasFully engaged fire being extinguished. extinguished. Flashover typically happens at 1,000 to 1,200 degrees when all contents of a room reach their ignition temperature at about the same time.  Training participants watched through the open door or on the television screen providing pictures of the event.

An identically set-up room on the opposite side of the building had the same small flame set; however, this time an accelerant was used. The comparison of the two fire settings was then used as the focus for classroom discussions.

Classes and workshops provided training for those new to the industry as well as those professionals who have experience in the field of fire/arson, insurance fraud investigations, and for those whose primary duties are working with claim files. The training provided both public and private sectors with a unique and highly educational experience with the focus on various aspects of fire and fraud investigations.